Volunteering is a concept that some may think of when doing a nice deed once in a while. Maybe volunteering to help a neighbor take their trash to the curb or volunteering to picking up a friend whose car broke down. Perhaps you’ve volunteered to let someone borrow money you’ll most likely never see again. Although those are all very nice things to do for someone and they might fall under the category of “informal volunteering”, they don’t constitute the type of volunteering we’ll be exploring in this guide and that will be required for this program.
Overall, volunteers play a huge role in helping to create healthy communities and in many cases volunteer involvement is crucial for a community’s ability to exist, succeed and thrive. Without those everyday volunteers dedicating time and effort to address needs within their own neighborhoods, towns, cities, states or even the entire country they live in, the world might be a very different place.
So, how does volunteering relate to learning Olympic Style Taekwondo and this program? That’s easy to answer… MARTiAL YOU is a nonprofit organization dedicated to community involvement and awareness. Our mission to promote the benefits of martial arts goes hand in hand with promoting community responsibility through community awareness. Having students get involved with charitable activities can help drive a sense of respect for others, the work they do, and the impact they have on the entire community.
As part of our efforts to reach out and help give back, we have integrated volunteer requirements for those enrolling in the martial arts program. Students who wish to test and receive promotion to the next rank must contribute a preset number of volunteer hours to a local charitable organization before doing so.
MARTiAL YOU will be working to create collaborations with local charities in order to create a consistent base of opportunities from which students can choose to dedicate their time and to make it easier for them to get started. However, students will not be limited to charities working directly with MARTiAL YOU, and may choose to volunteer their time with any local charity holding a 501c3 status.
Now, finding time to volunteer these days doesn’t seem to be all that easy. So many things to do, not enough time, and plenty of distractions keep a lot of us teetering more towards the edge of “I can’t do it right now.” This is a completely understandable train of thought, and I for one have battled with this three part balance scale of “what I need to do”, “what I should do”, and “what I want to do.” Also, a common misconception that may discourage some is that volunteering will take up all their free time. This of course is just not true. The time dedicated to any volunteering is completely up to you. It can be as little as thirty minutes a month or as much as eight hours a day or anything in between. You decide.
THE IMPORTANCE AND IMPACT OF VOLUNTEERING
According to the annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America research by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship, including stats from The National Bureau of Labor, it’s estimated that approximately 25.3 percent of US citizens volunteered through or for an organization at least once in 2013. That’s about 62.8 million people who decided to give away some of their precious time for a cause. Roughly 7.7 Billion hours were donated by volunteers, and those hours tallied up to a value of about 173 billion dollars based on the Independent Sectors estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.
In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) also engaged in “informal volunteering” in their communities, helping neighbors with such tasks as watching each other’s children, helping with shopping, or house sitting. Other civic health indicators from the report found that two-thirds (68.5 percent) of Americans have dinner with their family virtually every day, while three in four (75.7 percent) see or hear from friends and family at least a few times a week, and more than a third (36.3 percent) are involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organization.
If those numbers alone don’t resonate just how much volunteering is part of and needed by our society, let me give you some ideas about what these volunteers do. Volunteers play a critical role in society whether they are actively donating time through formal organizations, ad hoc organizations, or participating in “informal volunteering” by providing personal care for those close to them such as neighbors, family, and friends, or maybe even complete strangers, in an effort to give back. Volunteer tasks have a huge range from stuffing envelopes for an important cause to unloading a truck load of bottled water in a disaster zone and from providing home care for the elderly to piloting a plain to make sure a needy medical patient gets to a distant location for treatment.
Volunteers serve communities as volunteer fire fighters, man hotlines such as those for domestic violence and sexual assault organizations; participate in search and rescue activities, aid in disaster relief by getting crucial supplies where they need to be, deliver meals to the homeless, and they provide help to helpless.
Volunteers serve as coaches, mentors, teachers, tutors, and counselors for all age groups, the disabled and the financially challenged. Volunteers in the medical profession donate time to free clinics and provide medical knowledge and aid for victims of disasters all over the world. They work to help create public awareness for safety and health concerns.
Volunteers help to repair broken infrastructure, gain access to clean water, construct houses, schools and other facilities used daily. They work to patrol neighborhoods, parks, and streets to help keep them safe, and they are out walking dogs, taking tickets at performing arts events, giving tours at museums and organizing cultural festivals. The involvement is endless and the importance is, well, incalculable.
Think about what the world would be like without all the volunteers who dedicate time and effort on a daily basis. What if those volunteers all of a sudden stopped volunteering? What would happen to our neighborhoods, towns, cities, places of worship, libraries, state parks, and schools? What basic needs would we all have to do without? What opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive as a community, or as a whole society, would disappear?
Volunteers are all around us and whether we know it or not, we likely meet at least one every day. They are the silent unrecognized voices, givers, and heroes that are working non-stop to make sure life is good, for all of us!
Program students become part of that important force shaping the world by giving without the thought of receiving. Each testing period, depending on age and rank, those enrolled are required to provide between one and ten hours of volunteer time before promotion. It is our intent to foster community awareness and involvement through these requirements and it is our hope that getting students involved with charitable projects will result in them becoming better acquainted with their own local community and its needs, and perhaps may inspire volunteering above and beyond the program requirements.
Required volunteer hours for each rank are listed on the belt requirements page.