Apr. 2, 2018- Volunteerism has been woven into the fabric of America since its founding. Inhabitants of the New World came together to build schools and hospitals, distribute books, care for the poor, and address other societal problems. Benjamin Franklin created the first ever volunteer fire department. Throughout its history, Americans have come together to do everything from selling war bonds to finding a cure for polio.
As Alexis Tocqueville, observed in “Democracy in America”:
"In the United States, as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or an idea they wish to promote in society, they seek each other out and unite together…From that moment, they are no longer isolated but have become a power seen from afar whose activities serve as an example."
There is no better example of this than the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In 1987, a few families who had lost loved ones to suicide joined together with scientists to try to find answers as to why people die from suicide. These pioneers launched what is now the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – the largest private funder of suicide prevention research, the authoritative voice on public policy in our field, a delivery system for hundreds of programs that educate thousands of people, and an organization whose members extend a hand to all those impacted by suicide.
Pick nearly any community in the United States and you will find Out of the Darkness Walks being organized, Talk Saves Lives™ presentations taking place, Healing Conversations visits being made, AFSP Field Advocates reaching out to elected officials, and so much more.
How is all of this possible?
The answer is simple. It is thanks to the thousands of passionate and energetic volunteers who make the work of AFSP possible. Volunteers work tirelessly to carry out the mission of AFSP. They do this in addition to working full time jobs and taking care of their families. They are carrying on the grand tradition of volunteers in America coming together to solve big problems.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week we say thank you for everything our volunteers do every day in the fight against suicide. We are honored have you on our team. Thanks for all you do.