Put a price tag on the benefits of volunteering, and it might read contented, happy, and $20 and more an hour.
Faculty, staff and students can share in those benefits when they give back to the Cleveland community during the all-campus service day called Case for Community Day on Friday, September 25.
Angela Schluchter, the student service coordinator in the university's Center for Civic Engagement & Learning (CCEL), spent three years in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica before coming to the university. She lived and worked in a small village of 500 people. She taught English and computer classes and helped parents and the local school board establish community computer center.
She has seen the "empowering" experience that volunteering can have in supporting people who are trying to make a positive difference.
Currently she is drawing from what she learned in the Peace Corps to engage students in Case for Community Day as well as other volunteer opportunities with local nonprofit organizations through CCEL.
"My favorite part of the job is helping to create meaningful interactions between students and community members," says Schluchter.
The benefits are ageless. Case Western Reserve University Sociologist Eva Kahana has studied Florida retirees for two decades and found that those older people who volunteer appear to be happier and more contented with life. Giving and volunteering also have some positive health effects.
"The ability to help others and derive satisfaction from those actions allows them to maintain meaning in life and to enjoy an optimistic and positive outlook," reports Kahana.
The Independent Sector, a coalition of volunteer organizations, has put a dollar figure on the value of volunteering derived from data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All the time and talent given to others has a value of $20.25 per hour in 2008—up from $7.46 in 1980. The value continues to increase with time.
Share in the benefits of volunteering. All university staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends are welcomed to dedicate the day to service. Registration for Case for Community Day opens Wednesday, August 26.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.