A group of people raising their hands up to the sky.

It’s Volunteer Week – “Empathy in Action”

The National Volunteer Week theme for 2022, Volunteering Is Empathy In Action, affirms the strong connection between volunteerism and empathy. This profoundly human connection is at the heart of healthier individuals and stronger communities.

According to the national Point of Light Foundation, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. President George H.W. Bush’s inaugural address invoked the vision of a “thousand points of light,” and invited the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens.

Today, as people strive to lead lives that reflect their values, the expression of civic life has evolved. Whether online, at the office, or the local food bank; whether with a vote, a voice, or a wallet – doing good comes in many forms, and we recognize and celebrate them all.

In conjunction with National Volunteer Week, Global Volunteer Month celebrates the power of people who tackle society’s greatest challenges and build stronger, more vibrant communities through volunteerism and everyday actions as well.

According to the US Census, Rhode Island ranks about 35th of the 50 states in volunteer involvement. Here are some unique stats for our state:

• 264,459 volunteers contribute 22.0 million hours of service
• 30.7% of residents volunteer, ranking them 33rd among states
• Volunteer service worth an estimated $532.3 million
• 98.4% of residents regularly talk or spend time with friends and family
• 53.8% of residents do favors for neighbors
• 16.3% of residents do something positive for the neighborhood
• 28.7% of residents participate in local groups or organizations
• 60.6% of residents donate $25 or more to charity

The United Way offers information on volunteering for a number of different agencies, and has specific events happening this week. Go here for event info and how to participate in these events:

If your agency needs volunteers to help with a project or projects, you can register that with the United Way – here is the link:

To volunteer yourself, with your family, or with your company, check out the opportunities in Rhode Island listed here:

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