Saturday, March 26, is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Here’s one I feel deserves national recognition: Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation Day.
I know organizations exist that set aside a day or time of year to recognize their volunteers, but I think it deserves a national holiday—where you get a day off, just like some of the other holidays we celebrate like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.
I bet that everyone has volunteered his or her time and talents for one organization or another—probably more than once.
Women of the ELCA is the greatest organization I have been involved with, and our participants volunteer in so many ways. They make quilts and various kits for Lutheran World Relief. They make prayer shawls for their local missions. They serve at funerals and other church events. They serve as leaders for their congregational units or their synods. Some serve as leaders on our national churchwide board, helping to make decisions for our organization.
[bctt tweet=”There are no paychecks associated with any volunteer positions…”]
There are no paychecks associated with any volunteer positions, and I have never heard one complaint about that. I think most people would rather feel appreciated—their work valued—over getting a paycheck. I think it’s more about knowing you are making a difference in other people’s lives, in the community and around the world.
Jesus’ disciples gave up everything, received no paycheck to follow him and spread the good news of our Lord. Because of their faith in God, they received food, clothing and shelter as they traveled with Jesus as his disciples. Today, however, most of us must earn money to pay for our food, clothing and shelter so the time we give in volunteering is truly giving of ourselves.
Women of the ELCA’s mission statement says that we will “engage in ministry and action and promote healing and wholeness in the church, society and the world.” That doesn’t mean we always have to volunteer at church. We can volunteer in other ways that make a difference in the world.
We don’t require recognition or appreciation, but it sure is nice, and to do it nationally would be amazing! What holiday would you propose a new day for?
Lois Bylund serves on the churchwide executive board. She lives in Moorhead, Minn., and is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in that city.
Women of the ELCA photo: Marge Sklarsky, All Saints Lutheran Church, left, Sun Valley, Calif., and Alexis Lammawin, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks, Calif., cut and tie blankets for the Project Linus event in North Hollywood, Calif. Sponsored jointly by the Southwest California Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO) and the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO), the event is an opportunity for intergenerational charity-making.