Voluntarism and Public Servants
Americans celebrate volunteers and public servants, intuitively recognizing that there is something of great value in helping your community. But often we have arrived at distorted understandings of voluntarism and public service: definitions that emphasize trivial engagement and exclude important forms of public service. Exploring the benefits of service, the rules and norms that support and promote it, and the virtues that volunteers display will provide us will a more accurate understanding of what it means to serve.
Volunteering is good for society. When a disaster strikes a community and citizens step forward to care for and comfort those who have been harmed, the benefits are immediately apparent. But the benefits go deeper and are longer lasting than just providing immediate relief to the suffering.