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Readers share the benefits reaped from volunteering

National Volunteer Week is April 21-27.  Established in 1974, this week-long celebration has grown each year, as it honors and celebrates those who give of their time and talents to help others.


The Branson Globe spoke with many in the area who volunteer at one or more of our important not-for-profit organizations, as they shared the benefits they gain from volunteering.


Said Rita, "I volunteer at the Elevate Branson after-school program. I enjoy the kids and the other volunteers. I feel like I'm helping out, so it's totally win-win!"


Tom said, "I am presently volunteering at my church. I work on the landscaping—pulling weeds, trimming bushes, etc. I receive personal satisfaction from seeing it look good when I attend. I hear occasional comments from other members who also notice the appearance of the landscaping. Prior to its closing, I volunteered at the Library Thrift Shop where I received the satisfaction of knowing I was helping support the library. It was also a great social connection, visiting with customers and other volunteers."


Kay has been a volunteer for years, at the Library Circulation Desk, Board of Directors (as Officer and Director), Budget and Finance Committee, Personnel Committee, Membership Committee, and handling back office duties of banking and bookkeeping, payroll and tax documentation.


"I started volunteering at the library because of my love of books and reading, and I felt I had skills the library could use," said Kay. "My benefit has been the friends I have made over the years and the sense of accomplishment for the library becoming publicly funded. What a relief knowing fundraisers are no longer necessary in keeping the library doors open."


Sheri shared, "When I worked for BCBS of Michigan, I volunteered for several events. Moving down here, I started volunteering within two months of settling in. I like being around people, feeling helpful and useful."


Said Glenn, "I volunteer because I owe my community for what it gives me. I don't want to be in politics, city government, school board, etc. I have plenty of time, enjoy meeting and working with folks of all lifestyles. Finally, I am a strong believer in Christ, and community support is another way for me to show my devotion to God and the real reason I am on this planet—to love, pray and worship God."


Karen said, "There are many reasons why I volunteer but the number one is to give back and serve other people. I believe God gives us skills and opportunities in life so we can help others. I volunteer for places that provide services that I am passionate about. Volunteering at these places restores my soul. That is the biggest benefit to me. Also, there aren't always opportunities to make a living at nonprofit organizations who survive on volunteers, so volunteering is a good way to fulfill a passion and provide a break from the stress of a job. If I wasn't volunteering at at least one place, I don't think I would be fulfilling my purpose in life."


Karen serves as the volunteer manager of the Library's Used Book Store, works with an organization that does fundraising and provides community support to the Branson Police Department, and works with Elevate Branson's Work program.


Linda has spent many years as a volunteer. She noted, "Over 16 years with many organizations in Branson and Branson West. I found my blessings at Church Army/CORE. I would leave for a few weeks or months, help other local organizations, but always found my heart would bring me to those most in need. Health has me retired now, but CORE will always be family."


Glenna shared, "I volunteer at the Library Book Store because I love books, reading and learning new things. I also love interacting with the people that come because if they are in the library, we have something in common. A lot of tourists, senior citizens, homeschoolers and just regular people like me come into the book store. I also volunteer at Christian Action Ministries, known as CAM, which is our local food pantry. Helping other people is what I love best. Interacting with people and helping them with their needs is such a blessing for me because we all have hard times and struggles, whether we admit it or not. I volunteer with the J1 Program during the summer, which helps many international students learn about our freedoms and customs, as they work to make money to pay for college. I made life-long friends and contacts during this time. I volunteer with many activities at my church through Gods' calling. I work with MRTA (Missouri Retired Teachers Association). I volunteer to help retired teachers and school employees improve their life during retirement. I am part of Neighbors and Friends, which is a program that gives many grants to organizations in our area such as the police, firefighters, libraries, and Options Pregnancy Center. I love giving back to our community. People and organizations have helped me so much during hard times, so my main goal is to give back and help others."


Said Maureen, "Unite Table Rock Lake is amazing. It is rewarding to see the joy it brings to people. Like a kid's face when they get to pick out their back-to-school backpack and get school supplies at the school readiness fair. It's amazing to see the way our community embraces helping with gifts, toy donations, bikes, food boxes, hygiene products, pajamas, clothes and so much more. And, the hundreds of volunteering hours to make the Stone County Christmas Assistance and Christmas Store happen."


Joyce shared, "I volunteer because I think it's a valuable use of my time to promote the library, an important resource for all members of the community. Books, movies, e-books and more are available to everyone - a strong sign of a strong community. My volunteer work benefits me because it gives me a focus outside of doing things just for myself. God gives us talents to use, and I believe in following a purpose that is outside of myself and serves others."


At the Library, Joyce wraps books, making them ready to be shelved, serves as President of the Friends of the Library Board and helped with improvements to the Used Book Store.


Beth was almost late responding to the request for information about her volunteer work because she was busy volunteering. Beth volunteers at the Library Used Book Store where she is responsible for vintage, classic, children’s and juniors' books. At her church, she volunteers to help the sight-impaired and prepares the Communion ware. She is the Board Secretary for the Branson Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. Beth creates beautiful quilts for children facing trauma and patriotic quilts for fundraisers and auctions. She also teaches Safety Awareness as a community service.


Said Beth, wife of newly elected Branson Alderman Glenn Schulz, "When I was younger, being a wife and mom was the most important aspect of my life. Now that the kids are on their own, my husband and I can focus our attention on other areas that we feel are important to us. Perhaps we could not devote a lot of time in our younger years, but now that we are retired from our paying jobs, we can focus on giving back to our church and our community."


On behalf of The Branson Globe, thank you to all of the volunteers in our area. You make our community better and stronger. You truly do make a difference!

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