To kick off National Volunteer Appreciation Week, I posed the question: is volunteerism in our military communities dying? Shocking question, isn’t it? It might be, but I think the military community should pay attention to the answer.
Military spouses are reporting a slight decline in the time they spend volunteering within their own military communities. Instead, they say they are volunteering more in their civilian communities.
Think about that for a minute.
I think volunteering in either community is greatly appreciated. Volunteerism can be a family activity, a day of service, or simply a way to give back to others however you can. Getting involved in a cause builds strength in a community, breaks down barriers, and allows love and compassion to thrive.
But why are military spouses not giving back to their own as much as they used to? What’s so important about volunteering within the military community?
Because no one should walk through military life alone. Sharing experiences, struggles, and accomplishments are what bring people closer together. Extending help by sharing resources, providing information on programs, or lending a helping hand is all part of what makes us stronger.
I encourage you to look for ways to volunteer in your military community. Volunteering doesn’t have to be time consuming. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a few ideas.
- Reach out to the installation Volunteer Program Manager. This person usually has the low down on volunteer opportunities on the installation.
- Get involved with your family support group. It doesn’t have to be a huge task, there are simple ways to volunteer that will be appreciated.
- Try Child and Youth Services. If your kids play sports, help out the team or the coach.
- Check into military faith-based organizations. There are many ways to volunteer. Choose what works for you!
Not living on or near an installation?
- Find a local organization that helps support military families or veterans.
- Find out what your local church or religious organization is doing to support military families and get involved. Or, maybe start a program and get others involved!
- Network with your military family friends on social media sites. Find out where they’re volunteering and tag along.
Of course, you already know how awesome our NMFA Volunteer Corps is, but if you want want to get some other ideas of how you can help the military community, check out our list of incredible ways to get involved or to support our nation’s families.
What other ways can you volunteer in your military community? Let us know!
Posted by Christina Jumper, Volunteer & Community Outreach Director