From Chicken Soup for the Volunteer's Soul


It is our deepest pleasure to offer you Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul.

Over the years, volunteers have been treated, for the most part, with a nice pat on the back with the notion that the majority of people just didn’t have the time nor the desire to get involved.

But as our society moves through economic cycles and recovers from acts of terrorism, the concept of volunteering to offer comfort, aid and, most importantly, one’s time to “make a difference” has become validated as an accepted and natural part of daily life.

If you have not yet discovered the rewards of volunteering, our highest hope is that, as you read and absorb each story, you will feel inspired to reevaluate how you choose to spend your time.

Good stories, like the best mentors, guide but don’t dictate: They are unique experiences, insights tied to emotional triggers that grab our attention and replay in our memories. They often free us from the chains of past decisions and motivate us to push harder to better the world. A really good story allows us to recognize the choices that are open to us and to see new alternatives we might not have considered before. It can give us permission and instill courage to try a new path of action, and, ideally, it can provide us with the motivation to join thousands of other volunteers on the same positive path.

For this book, we carefully selected stories that hopefully will make you feel as if you were actually present. From that virtual reality, we trust you will be inspired, empowered and, in some cases, even humbled to make a difference in the world on a sustained basis. We hope you will be moved from spectator to participant.

Many of the people you will meet in these pages are models of unconditional kindness, compassion and love. They chose hope over despair, optimism over cynicism, and caring over withdrawal or indifference by volunteering to help people in need.

Whether we are veteran or new volunteers, the result is clear: A single individual can make a significant difference in the lives of others, and thereby have a positive impact in creating a more equitable, civil and peaceful world.

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