Did you know that 62.6 million Americans spent nearly 7 billion hours volunteering last year? Don’t worry, I didn’t either – not until I started volunteering at United Way and I was 1 of that 62.6 million. That’s right, this time last year I was a volunteer right here at United Way of Northwest Arkansas-and it was an amazing experience!

Volunteering is one of the most empowering things I have ever done. I willingly gave my time to an agency with a mission that I passionately believed in. There is NOTHING more valuable than a person’s time and to be able to donate that time to the community, whether that be working as a child’s mentor, picking up trash around Lake Fayetteville, or sorting shoes at the United Way Gifts in Kind Warehouse to be sent to local elementary schools for children who are living in poverty. No matter what the capacity VOLUNTEERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Who wouldn’t want to go to bed every night knowing that you helped someone that day, and that YOU impacted the community in a positive way? My #1 goal in life has always been to help people and to make a difference. That is why I volunteer. I had no idea the impact that volunteering would have on my life and my future.

Now that I work at United Way as the Director of Community Engagement I have the distinct pleasure of connecting volunteers to different nonprofit agencies throughout Northwest Arkansas with missions that they are passionate about and I couldn’t imagine doing anything better! Volunteering makes a huge impact-$173 Billion dollars in the United States alone last year! Now that I work at United Way coordinating these volunteers and assisting various nonprofits in fulfilling needs that they could not otherwise accomplish, I not only see the impact that a dollar saved has on our agencies, but I see the impact that a simple “Thank you” has on our volunteers. The impact of volunteering goes far beyond a dollar saved or an hour given, a lesson I learned as a volunteer and one I continue to encourage in my new role at United Way.

Volunteers are the heartbeat behind so many nonprofits right here in Northwest Arkansas. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or simply want to learn more about all of the opportunities to make an impact in Northwest Arkansas contact Kelsey Brock atkbrock@unitedwaynwa.org or by phone at 479.303.4426