The Value of a Good Volunteer

Recently, while attending a local breakfast in honor of Shoals area grant recipients, I happened to look across the room and see a familiar and welcoming face. A volunteer who has worked with our program for many years. Safeplace is not that only program who benefits from her generous heart, but it is certainly blessed to be among her chosen causes. Each Monday morning, like clockwork, she arrives and takes over the help line to take calls while staff prepare for a new week. Bar sickness or vacation, she can always be counted on to be at her post. One staff member once said, if I pull in and see her car here, I know the day and time without even thinking about it. The dependability and dedication of a good volunteer is worth more than can be imagined.

The budget of a non-profit is often strapped and the work load of staff can often seem overwhelming. When stress is high and morale seems low, one only has to look around at those selfless folks who come into work just because of the joy it brings them to help others in need. There is not enough gratitude or enough thank yous issued to cover the value of their time and effort. They do it just because. Some may tell you it is because they had a parent, sister, aunt or friend who suffered through abuse and this is their way of reaching out to help others in the same situation. Some say that they feel called to help persons who may need a helping hand. Some have survived abuse themselves and return to pay it forward. My personal favorite reason was told to me by a volunteer who is an excellent prayer warrior for Safeplace. She said “Oh my, God has been so good to me and blessed me so much, how can I not help out where I’m needed.’’ It seemed to me that she was living the bible verse that speaks of those to whom much has been given, much is expected.

Although the staff of Safeplace may see a lot of sadness, a lot of fear and a lot of pain, we also see some success stories and some much granted relief for families in need. Ribboned around many of those successes, like the wrappings of a gift, are the strands of love and care provided by volunteers. Volunteers who answer the help line, provide childcare, that work within their community to bring awareness, provide transportation or raise funds. Safeplace is surrounded by the embrace of caring individuals whose value can never be measured.

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