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From the Editor

According to the Independent Sector’s latest estimated value of volunteer time, a volunteer’s time is worth about $24.14 per hour in the United States and about 1 in 4 adults volunteer in the United States every year. That translates to nearly 63 million Americans volunteering about 8 billion hours of time, talent, and effort—resulting in approximately $193 billion worth of people’s time being contributed nationwide.

But the value of volunteers shouldn’t be measured solely in monetary terms. Volunteers make enormous impacts on the organizations, churches and schools they serve and the communities which house them.

What is it that makes volunteers so willing to freely give of their time and talents?

Ask 10 volunteers that question and you are likely to get 10 different answers—because the motivation is almost always a personal one. For some folks, it is as simple as wanting to support a given cause. Others find that volunteering allows them to satisfy their need for a sense of community with others. Older volunteers often appreciate that volunteering allows them to continue to contribute to their society and that, in turn, gives their own lives more meaning. And as we are learning about the younger generation known as millennials, many want to achieve the satisfaction that comes from knowing that they can foster a change or make a difference in the lives of others.

Last month our city hosted its 41st annual Memphis in May International Festival. Although most of the festival events were packed into a month-long celebration, the truth is that it took teams of volunteers working for months, some even year-round, to bring that event to fruition. In all, over 1,500 volunteers gave approximately 20,000 hours of service. And over the last few years, the MIM volunteer program has been named by the International Festival and Events Association as the Best Volunteer Program—three times.

Another local tradition, Carnival Memphis, brings together groups of people for plenty of merry-making this month, but many of those participants also volunteer their time to raise money for designated children’s charities. This year’s beneficiaries are The Erika Center at Bodine School, Church Health, and Knowledge Quest. Since the inception of the Children’s Charity Initiative in 1999, more than $2,200,000 with matching funds has been donated to local children’s charities.

Our volunteers are a very valuable part of our community. If you are serving as a volunteer—Thank you! If not, please give some thought as to how you might contribute to the enrichment of the lives of others, as well as your own.



Emily Adams Keplinger