As a volunteer you have the opportunity to give the very best – because you give of yourself. The inner satisfaction that comes from helping others and the pride of accomplishment in a job well done is often a volunteer’s greatest reward. When you volunteer at a VA you are giving back to those who gave it their all for your freedom.
Volunteers develop life-long relationships, cultivate new skills and gain valuable personal skills such as patience and tolerance, while increasing self-esteem through the satisfaction that comes from lending a helping hand.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Voluntary Service (VAVS) Program, the largest volunteer program in the federal government, has provided service to America’s veterans since 1946. VAVS is guided by the National Advisory Committee which is comprised of over 60 major veteran, civic and service organizations.
VA volunteers and the organizations they credit their hours to contributed an estimated $90 million in gifts and donations to VA during fiscal year 2011, which augments VA’s appropriations to medical facilities and homes. These significant contributions allow VA to assist direct patient care programs along with support services and activities which may not be fiscal priorities from year to year.
There were over 142,000 volunteers on the rolls during fiscal year 2011, with nearly 87,000 active VAVS volunteers contributing a total of 12.3 million hours. VAVS 2011 total hours equated to 5,926 full-time employee-equivalent positions. The monetary worth of the 12.3 million hours from all VAVS volunteers was almost $355 million. (Independent Sector formula estimates a calendar year 2011 volunteer hour is valued at $21.36.)
As VA expands its care of veterans into communities, volunteers become more involved. They assist patients by augmenting VA staff in such settings as hospital wards, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, community-based volunteer programs, end-of-life programs, respite care, national cemeteries, veteran outreach centers, benefits offices and more.
Watch a short video about volunteering.