A Must-Read Memo for Volunteers

To: All volunteers, everywhere

From: The bottom of our hearts

Subj: Thank you!!

Helping people. Helping animals. Helping the environment. Helping make the world a better place. And helping for free because a cause demands it. That’s what volunteers do, all over the world, every day. April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, and AARP wants to say ‘thank you!’ to each and every volunteer. We see you volunteering in shelters, schools, retirement homes, municipal centers, theaters and even on trails high in the Rocky Mountains. We feel the difference you make – teaching kids, comforting the sick, giving a voice to the voiceless. And we know you volunteer because at some point you stopped thinking ‘Somebody should do something about that’ and started realizing that you are that somebody.

At AARP we hold a special place in our hearts for volunteers age 50 and up. One shining example is Jane Stephenson, of Lexington, Ky., who founded the New Opportunity School for Women 24 years ago in Berea, Ky., to give very-low-income women in Appalachia a reasonable opportunity to get an education and/or pursue work that will pay a living wage. Stephenson is now 73 and still teaching and working at her school, which has since expanded. For her volunteer effort, Stephenson won AARP’s Create The Good “Win and Do Good” contest<http://www.aarp.org/giving-back/volunteering/info-12-2011/appalachian-school-founder-ky.html>.

Most of us who volunteer may not claim such a legacy, but make no mistake: Every single volunteer is an important and valued part of the whole.  Most of you don’t consider what you do to be a “big deal.” You’re too modest. You’re making a better world for everyone, and for that you should feel proud. Thank you!