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Quotes on Volunteering
(Words to Inspire)

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There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you don't do them. - Charles D. Gill
Submitted on 2 November 2004 by Caitlin Rohrer, Girl Scouts - Trillium Council, Pennsylvania

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.
Submitted on 26 October 2004 by Marjorie Moore, Minds Eye Information Service, Belleville, IL, USA

Don't ever question the value of volunteers. Noah's Ark was built by volunteers; the Titanic was built by professionals.
Submitted on 8 Septemer 2004 by Dave Gynn, Coleman Professional Services, Ohio, USA

To serve, not to be served.
--The charge to service for AARP members from Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, AARP founder
Submitted on 6 September 2004 by Carolyn Hunter, ASD, AARP Utah, USA

Too often we under-estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -- Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia
Submitted on 12 August 2004 by Marjorie Moore, Minds Eye Information Service, Belleville, IL

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor is given by what he gave. -- Calvin Coolidge
Submitted on 7 July 2004 by Joe Hammontree, 4-H AmeriCorps VISTA, Shiawassee MSU Extension, Michigan, USA

You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
-- Winston Churchill
Submitted on 17 June 2004 by Elise Slobodin, Planning Executive, UJA-Federation, New York USA

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together.
-- Lill Watson, aboriginal activist
Submitted on 15 June 2004 by Keith Goheen, Volunteer Coordinator, First State Community Action Agency, Delaware USA

It is only through the eyes of others do you see yourself. It is only through the work of your own do you find the difference in others.
Submitted on 9June2004 by Foo Ji-Wei, Volunteerism Through Oneself, Nanyang Technological University, Welfare Services Club, Singapore

Being a man or a woman is a matter of birth. Being a man or a woman who makes a difference is a matter of choice.
--Byron Garrett, staff member of Arizona's Governor
Submitted on 26 May 2004 by Nicolette Ryan, Volunteer Coordinator, Central Arizona Shelter Services, Phoenix, AZ

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.
-- Tom Brokaw
Submitted on 16 April 2004 by Cathie Waugh, Volunteer Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity, Colorado

Which is more subversive—and corrosive—to believe in altruism or to see it simply as a cloak of self interest? Even if altruism did not exist, it would be necessary to believe in it. Pessimists in power are prone to despotism.
-- Frank Prochaska in Schools of Citizenship: Charity and Civic Virtue, Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London, 2002.
- submitted 25 March 2004 by Susan Ellis

Free Quotation Postcards can be sent from The Giraffe Project's motivating Web site at Also, the Foundation Center has a list of sites in answer to the FAQ, "Where can I find online quotations regarding the value of philanthropy?"  See: on 25 March 2004 by Susan Ellis.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Submitted on 14Feb2004 by Fiona Dawe, Executive Director, YouthNet, London, England

The Winds of change shall not discourage the volunteer.
--Lorna Wilson
Submitted by self, Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc., Ontario, Canada

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - Chinese Proverb
Submitted by Alane Hill, Project Director, Friends Foster Grandparent Program New Hampshire, USA, 10Nov2003

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the women and men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands
(quoted at the end of an e-mail from Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey)

The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others. -- DeAnn Hollis
Submitted by DeAnn Hollis

Throughout your life, there is a voice only you can hear. A voice which mythologists label "the call." A call to the value of your life. The choice of risk and individual bliss over the known and secure.

You may choose not to hear your spirit. You may prefer to build a life within the compound, to avoid risk. It is possible to find happiness within a familiar box, a life of comfort and control.

Or, you may choose to be open to new experiences, to leave the limits of your conditioning, to hear the call. Then you must act.

If you never hear it, perhaps nothing is lost. If you hear it and ignore it, your life is lost.
--Jennifer James
Submitted by Debra English, Volunteer Coordinator, HealthPartners, Minnesota, USA

The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering: Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.
-Ivan Scheier (from Building Staff/Volunteer Relations)
Submitted by Claudia Collier, Director, Volunteer Center of the YMCA, Mankato MN, USA

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
- Mother Theresa
Submitted by Jenni, Michigan

It is one of the beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Submitted by Dominica Larkin, Volunteer Coordinator, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Canada

To the world you may be one person, But to one person you may be the world.
-- Anonymous

Submited by Amanda Hughes, Community Involvement Assistant

Your hands may be empty but your heart is full.
Submitted by Dee Smith, Texas

Let ... individuals make the most of what God has given them, have their neighbors do the same, and then do all they can to serve each other. There is no use in one man, or one nation, to try to do or be everything. It is a good thing to be dependent on each other for something, it makes us civil and peaceable.
--Sojourner Truth (c. 1797­1883), African American suffragist and abolitionist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, appendix—ch. 19, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Submitted by Lois Gaetz, Director, St Cloud Area Faith in Action, MN/USA

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Mahatma Gandhi

If you can't go where people are happier, try to make people happier where you are.
- Ashleigh Brilliant

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. - I John 3:18

Better one friend with a dish of food than a hundred with a sigh. - Yiddish proverb

The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today. - Saint Francis of Assisi

Submitted by Mike Corbin, Membership Chair, Metropolitan Detroit Volunteer Administration Network MI

Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
-- Submitted by Pamela Morse, Member Services Coordinator, AmeriCorps Alums, Washington, DC

Unless someone like you cares a whole, awful lot. Things aren't going to get better, they're NOT!
-- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Submitted by Sue Nelson, Agency Relations Director, Volunteer Jacksonville, Inc., Jacksonville, FL

You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
Submitted by Lisa Clegg, Coordinator, M.O.V.R.C. Foster Grandparents Program, West Virginia, USA

They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Submitted by Desire'e Larson, Women's Way, North Dakota Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, ND/USA

I'm in the business of loving the hell out of people
Mother Waddles
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity
Horace Mann
The mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort
Oliver Wendell Holmes
I hate quotations
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Submitted by Mike Corbin, Membership Chair, Metropolitan Detroit Volunteer Administration Network, Michigan

A verse to start community meetings:
"A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living.
--Rudolf Steiner, Austrian Philosopher and Scientist
Submitted by Sybille B. Hahn, Executive Director, CANES Home Support Services, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Most of us in volunteer programs now realize that those 1000 points of light of George Bush #1 are really 500 candles burning at both ends and the only thing to trickle down from Reganomics was budget cuts.
--self & good friend Margaret
Submitted by Nita Moser, Volunteer Coordinator, Battered Women's Project, Maine

"Put yourself in someone's shoes" is a common phrase. But it is not a common thing that we do everyday. We are, most of the time, self-centred. Especially in this modern, fast-paced life. It is only when we stop for a moment and give our time to others, that we realise the true meaning of empathy.
--The word "empathy".
Submitted by Abdul Manan Bin Hassan, ASP, PRIS DEPT, Changi, Singapore

He who does nothing for others does nothing for himself
Submitted by Susan E. Koch, Luther Crest Vol. Dir., PA.

I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
--Albert Schweitzer
Submitted by Deborah Stroup, Coordinator of Volunteers, Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, MO

Life is never so busy that there is no time to serve.
Submitted by Sharon Tan, , Singapore

Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.
--Helen Dyer
Submitted by Helen Dyer, Parks Funding and Volunteer Coordinator, Teller County, CO Division of Parks, Colorado, USA

We are all like one-winged angels. It is only when we help each other that we can fly.
--Luciano de Crescenzo
Submitted by Lori Ropa, American Water Works Association, Denver, CO USA

I am a recipient of unconditional love, I am a volunteer
--Shanterra McBride, Eduactional Director at the Empower Program in Washington DC
Submitted by Talisha McClaney, Volunteer Coordinator- LPH, Texas

"A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit."
-- Greek Proverb
Submitted by Judy Gross, Volunteer Coordinator, Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

"One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people. "
-- Dick Gregory
Submitted by Linda Hutchinson, Volunteer Coordinator, Victim Services Program, Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Kentucky USA

"Destiny is not necessarily what we get out of life, but rather, what we give."
-- Cary Grant
Submitted by Diego Ojanio Franco, Chairman, The Cedarwork Project, Inc., Quezon City, Philippines

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."
-- Ghandi
Submitted by Jackie Lonning, Co-VP of Scheduling, Student M.O.V.E. (Mobilizing Outreach Volunteer Efforts), Storm Lake, IA, USA

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
-- Goethe
Submitted by Dorman Stanley, CONTACT Lubbock, Texas

Some people see things as they are and say 'why', I look at things that never were and say 'why not'.
-- Robert F. Kennedy
Submitted by Emma, North Carolina, USA

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