April is national volunteer month. In Maricopa, however, it seems like every month is volunteer month.
There’s no shortage of people in this community who are willing to step forward to make a difference in their neighbors’ lives.
Our idea was to write a story where we focused on these efforts. But what I found was an extensive culture of volunteerism that exists in this city that no one story could ever encompass.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of this city. Do you want proof? Two of this city’s most important boards consist of volunteers: The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.
Volunteers impact the growth of this city and what its educational system is going to look like. Not to mention, these people work for free, and they are willing to take the public scrutiny that sometimes comes along with their jobs.
When you get down to it, I think that goes a step beyond volunteerism.
It was also overwhelming to hear about volunteers who literally give until they don’t have much time left to give. Some work 40 hours a week. Their efforts often include mind-numbing clerical work and other times, back-breaking physical labor.
From time to time, people are honored for giving large cash donations to causes. And while monetary donations are always appreciated, the act of giving your time might be even more valuable.
Don’t ever underestimate the value of time spent working to further a cause.
It may be harder to quantify the donation But, in some cases, an hour spent might be worth more than the money you were going to give.
Volunteers with the Mariocopa Police Department’s Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS) program gave more than 8,700 hours of their time in the 2021 fiscal year. To put it in perspective, a full-time employee who works 40 hours a week will work 2,080 hours a year. That’s four full-time positions from just one group of volunteers.
As always, thanks for reading our publication, and thanks for volunteering.
This editor’s letter was first published in the April edition of InMaricopa magazine.