In 1986, President Ronald Regan established Nov. 15 as a day to celebrate volunteerism, giving and charitable engagement.
The day is meant to honor all large and small accomplishments that end up helping others in our society and world, and it is known as National Philanthropy Day. The day is meant to honor what people do from the heart that makes a difference.
For The Family YMCA, the impact of 2014’s volunteer hours (year 2015 is still being compiled) is valued at $183,900. Last year a total of 283 volunteers donated 9,195 hours of time.
Additionally, donations to the Y from individuals, private foundations and grants, United Way of Northern New Mexico-Los Alamos, along with contracts to provide needed services, accounted for one third of the Y’s income in 2014 and assisted the Y in serving 8,182 individuals, including 250 people who were on financial assistance.
The difference volunteers (coaches, team parents, instructors and board members) and donors make is profound, as demonstrated in this excerpt from a letter sent to the Y.
“The assistance I have received for a membership at the YMCA has impacted my life in two areas – my personal well-being and my community presence. With regards to my personal well-being, my family historically has had recurrent health issues. As such, regular exercise is something I’d like to integrate more readily in my life… My hours tend to be very hectic, and there are certain dangers (coyote) that prevent my early morning or late night exercise outdoors.
“Unfortunately, since I’m not employed by the lab, I can’t use their facilities. As a graduate student, I can’t really afford much in the way of gym memberships. So, given the scholarship, I now have an affordable place at which I can pursue a healthier lifestyle. As for a community presence, the YMCA provides a means to meet people outside of work.
“My research group is quite tight-knit, and given the number of hours I put in at the lab, I don’t have much knowledge of the town outside of them. The YMCA interactions thus far have been very positive, and provided some much needed social integration for my sanity. I am also quite hopeful that there will be volunteer opportunities (as mentioned in the application) through which I can give back for the help I’ve received. Thanks again! -Aaron