In our local Northeast Missouri communities, there are always more tasks than tax dollars can pay for, everything from fire services to mentoring students to feeding the hungry are handled by volunteers.

In our local Northeast Missouri communities, there are always more tasks than tax dollars can pay for, everything from fire services to mentoring students to feeding the hungry are handled by volunteers. Dedicated volunteers also bring an economic benefit to the community.

In the case of national service, every $10 of federal money appropriated stimulates the private investment of another $15 in emergency public-works, schools-based, and economic upliftment programs. Researchers at Columbia University estimated that every dollar invested in national service programs produces a $3.95 return to society in higher earnings, increased output, and other community-wide benefits.

The local RSVP program at Douglass Community Services helps non-profits recruit, train, and recognize the efforts of senior adults who are volunteering. In the last year, 221 volunteers contributed 24,667 hours to their communities. Using the universal volunteer rate of $23.56, $581,154 in labor were contributed to those communities.

For senior adults, volunteering improves both physical and mental health while creating a sense of belonging. In return, communities receive the benefits of a life-time of knowledge being used to improve the community. Volunteering is at the heart of a healthy community and we applaud organizations like RSVP that support senior adults and volunteering.

— Stephanie Cooper, Executive Director, Douglass Community Services