Having been born and raised right here in Fort Worth, I am comfortable saying we are lucky to live in such a big “small” town. Food, culture, arts—you name it, we got it! On top of all of that, we have a rich and varied selection of non-profit organizations that exist solely to help our community in any number of ways. We have organizations that aid the hungry, the homeless, the jobless, the ill or injured, veterans, the immigrant population and so much more. Churches, food banks and independently founded and operated companies raise and spend funds to support these very worthy causes.
Here at The WARM Place, we support grieving children and their families. We know that grief can be an isolating and, if unrecognized, crippling emotion that is hard for children to understand and navigate on their own. For over 25 years we have been helping families experiencing grief by providing tools and a comfortable environment to cope and co-exist with their feelings in a healthy and natural way.
In this blog, I want to talk about volunteerism.
Dictionary.com says that volunteerism (noun) is the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one’s community.
Beyond helping others – volunteering impacts the individual in deep and lasting ways. Did you know that according to the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, volunteering is proven to make you more hirable (73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without)? It also teaches new skills and expands knowledge– just over two thirds (68%) of volunteers said that volunteering helped them to develop better communication skills. Sixty-three percent reported increased knowledge about issues related to their volunteering. Additionally, data from the Americans’ Changing Lives survey found that those who volunteered reported higher levels of happiness, life-satisfaction, self-esteem, a sense of control over life, and physical health.
What some people may not know is that our programming is staffed almost entirely of volunteers- people who freely give of their time and energies to help The WARM Place accomplish our mission. Many volunteers come to us because they attended The WARM Place as a client, and they want to give back. Some come to us because they are studying counseling in school, and our program is an invaluable learning experience for them. Some come to us because their kind heart was moved by our mission and simply wanted to help. Whatever the case, these generous folks (228 active volunteers visit our house during our two week group cycle) are impacting our community in a very real way.
What I am saying is, the members of our WARM Place family who volunteer their time immeasurably help our community, better their own lives, and gain lasting bonds and friendships within our walls. Without them, our mission would be impossible. There aren’t enough thank you cards in print to show our gratitude to everyone who has given of themselves since our founding in 1989. I can say that our appreciation knows no bounds, and that our volunteers are the life-blood of our organization. Hug a volunteer (from The WARM Place or any other worthy organization in our community) today!
-Natalie Chapa, Volunteer Coordinator