The Value of Volunteerism: Priceless

It’s a mistake to think that volunteering is just “something nice to do.” Of course, it may make a person feel proud for participating, but volunteerism has a tremendous impact on the well-being and health of a community and actually makes a difference in everyone’s day-to-day life.

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Image courtesy of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership

 

Community Beautification

A clean and neat community appearance has a direct impact on home values, helps attract business investment, and improves overall civic pride. In a study conducted by Gallup (SOTC 2008-2010), it was determined that aesthetics were among the Top 3 reasons for attachment to a community. Hence, the prettier the community becomes, the more desirable it will be. Participating in the beautification of your local community can not only help its economy but it can contribute to the overall health and happiness of its residents, and is as simple as clearing litter from a shared sidewalk.

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Image courtesy of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership

 

Community Strength

Research also suggests that cleaner communities are, in fact, safer. Scientists at the Human-Environment Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (LHHL Study) studied the effects of green spaces on crime rates. The findings show that the more green space in the community, the lower the crime rate. An additional study conducted by the same group determined that residential areas with trees and other greenery help build more sociable and happy neighborhoods (LHHL Study). By engaging in a local community volunteer opportunity, you are also helping neighbors encourage and protect each other, creating better behavior and a safer, more pleasant environment! Another factor in the safeness of a community can be determined by its walkability. Walkable communities place urban environments back on the scale for sustainability of resources (natural and economic) and lead to more social interaction, physical fitness and diminished crime and other social problems.

 

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Volunteerism in Arkansas

Arkansas has countless opportunities statewide where volunteers can participate in community beautification efforts. The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) inspires and educates individuals to improve their communities by preventing litter, promoting recycling and keeping Arkansas beautiful through volunteerism. The Great Arkansas Cleanup, promoted statewide by KAB, is one of the state’s largest volunteer efforts encouraging litter prevention, community involvement, and clean and green initiatives. Last year alone, more than 15,000 Arkansans banded together to remove 6.9 million pounds of bulky trash and 150,000+ pounds of litter from 1,800+ miles of road and waterways.

 

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The Value of Volunteerism? Priceless.

So exactly how can one measure the value volunteerism? Statistically, it can be measured in the sheer number of participants, volunteer hours worked or efforts completed. Although these numbers give a clear indication of work done, what is the difference made in day-to-day life? The vitality and safety of communities, the happiness brought by cleaner, greener spaces, and the pride felt when you are a steward of your land are all immeasurable indications that you live in a community that cares. If you are interested in bettering your community, volunteer or register your own Great Arkansas Cleanup today!

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