One of the simplest and best reasons to volunteer is to become a fully participating member of your community -- to meet people and build new friendships and connections. Few things can compare to knowing you have worked to help your community.
Many people also appreciate the intersection of the YMCA's values with the values of their churches. Not every church has the resources to provide an extensive volunteer program, but the Y's Christian mission -- in conjunction with its collaborative relationships -- can fill the gap.
The wide variety of programs at the YMCA allows volunteers to help their communities in the ways in which they are best prepared to serve. Visual and performing artists can find ways to excite and engage children in the arts. Athletes can help young team participants discover the joys of sports. Teachers and tutors know they are making a difference in literacy and other skills -- abilities that will help people in their communities go on to live more productive and positive lives. Many YMCAs also work with veterans; volunteering in these programs offers a lovely opportunity to give to the community in tribute to a friend or family member who has served in the military.
Volunteering can strengthen, expand or polish your skills -- a boon for those who are hoping to change careers or find greater opportunities. Volunteering for office work can give you experience with software and procedures that will ultimately make you more employable. And teaching a class at the Y can be a great way to refresh your own skills. It might give you an excuse to get up to date in your field. Many teachers readily acknowledge that they learn as much as from their students as their students learn from them.
If you believe in the mission of the YMCA, they're waiting to hear from you. It's remarkably easy to make a difference.
To learn more, visit the links on the next page.