December 5th, which passed last week, is celebrated world-wide as International Volunteer Day. This date was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1985, and ever since it has served as a day to formally recognize the collective activities of volunteer organizations and individual volunteers, and additionally it has served to promote the values of volunteerism.
In honor of the 2008 International Volunteer Day, events were held in over 30 countries by a variety of organizations, including various UN bodies, national governments, and an impressive collection NGOs and other civil society groups. Furthermore, the day provided an opportunity for several corporate volunteer programs to highlight their work as well, with Intel, for example, announcing the completion of 1 million volunteer hours by its employees during the past year.
While the celebration of an international volunteer day is certainly a positive step towards recognizing and encouraging the work of many dedicated organizations and individuals across the globe, it is important to recognize that the tasks performed by volunteers must be carried out on a daily basis. So don’t wait around until December 5th, 2009 to congratulate a volunteer who you know, or to sign up for a volunteer project yourself; though the spirit of volunteerism might be officially celebrated on this one particular date, it lived out by millions of volunteers each and every day of the year.