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What Leaders are Learning

Leaders Volunteer

Leaders Volunteer

Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. This upcoming week, we will celebrate our 5th annual Leadership Spokane Leadership Lights the Way Gala. Much work has been done preparing to celebrate leadership in our community. This past weekend, numerous volunteers came together to prep all the silent auction gifts, 58 baskets in total. As the motivated team of volunteers worked, I couldn’t help but reflect on the hundreds of hours put in by our Leadership Spokane volunteers since we first met mid-summer to plan. Leaders Lend a Hand Heather Beebe-Stevens, Class of 2014, led a great team that has gathered hundreds of silent auction items, over 70 bottles of wine, $10,000 of sponsorships and set the conditions for an amazing gala…all because they believe in the power of volunteering.
Volunteering is a term adopted from the French word voluntaire meaning to offer oneself for military service. It spread as an ideal in America during the Civil War with organizations like the American Red Cross promoting civilian support of those wounded on the battlefield. Called the Great Awakening, Americans soon realized government could not help all the disadvantaged, and organizations like the Salvation Army, staffed by volunteers, sprung up to help those in poverty. Rotary, Kiwanis and other service organizations soon followed, and by the mid-20th century, volunteer organizations went global with Peace Corps coming into being. Today, AmeriCorps follows in the traditions of so many other volunteer organizations, created to provide volunteers for good causes.
The Department of Labor reports about a quarter of Americans volunteer annually – in 2014, over 60 million Americans helped others, giving on average about three hours a week. This has mutual benefits not only for society but for the individual. A CNCS report titled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research,” established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.
From my perspective, volunteerism is a priceless attribute. Our Gala would not be possible without Heather and her magnificent volunteers. Spokane would be a different community if not for the many organizations that are supported if not run by volunteers. One visit to a Blessings Under the Bridge event to see the army of volunteers that support Spokane’s homeless is proof positive of the exponential power of volunteerism.
Ultimately, servant leadership is another word for volunteerism. Servant leaders help others because it is the right thing to do. Servant leaders build community because that is their calling. Servant leaders improve the human quality of life. As we hit our fifth gala, we celebrate our volunteers. There would have never been one gala let alone five without our volunteers. Likewise, there never would have been a Leadership Spokane without 1,163 volunteers standing up to say, “I volunteer to lead others through service!” Leaders Volunteers…yes they do!
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill