Cheer for a Volunteer—It’s National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week, established in 1974 by President Richard Nixon, is a time to acknowledge and celebrate people who donate their time, skills, and energy in service to their communities. From April 23rd through 29th, you can share why you volunteer and what it means to you, while encouraging your friends, co-workers, and family to find a cause they want to give their time and talents to.

Behind the Book is giving a spirited shout-out to its own incredible volunteers, as well as everyone else who lends a hand all over the country. Our team of more than 1,000 people—three times the number from just a few years ago—play an active, vital role in our classroom literacy workshops.  We count on each of them to make each program a success.

As research, writing, and art coaches, our volunteers provide Pre-K to 12th grade students with individualized support, encouragement, and guidance that makes a huge difference in the outcome of their projects. In fact, we’re able to design more complex projects because we can count on volunteer support.

The impact they have was described perfectly by one of our Brooklyn third-graders: “I knew I was talented, but now I know how much!” She’s not alone. Students of all ages love working with their adult mentors, often asking them to come back another day, and distributing  generous hugs of happiness. As a result, we’ve yet to see a volunteer leave a classroom without a wide smile.

Working with volunteers is also an opportunity for students to get to know new people. Journalists, attorneys, finance professionals, tech experts, and people who work in fashion, theater, and the visual arts have all participated in our classroom workshops.

That’s not all they do to help make Behind the Book flourish. Volunteers regularly lend us their professional skills and experience by designing student books, photographing and videotaping workshops and events, copyediting, and helping to plan events. Their enthusiasm for our mission shows in the tremendous quality of work they do.

Want to share your love of serving your community? During National Volunteer Week, join the #ivolunteer campaign mounted by Points of Light, an organization that helps millions of volunteers make a difference. Simply download their signboard (or design your own!), and write in why you love being a volunteer.  Take a photo of yourself with your sign to share on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtags #ivolunteer, #NVW, and #behindthebook. We’ll be looking for you!

On any week, you can find current dates to be a coach on our volunteer opportunities page. To join our team and receive notice of new dates as they’re posted, please complete our brief questionnaire.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

This guest blog was written by our Volunteer Coordinator Emily Rosenberg, who loves working with all of you amazing volunteers!