Quotes about Citizenship/Community

Share your favorite quotes about volunteers and volunteering so that others can add a spark to their presentations!  Also look at the other categories of "Quotables":  poems, humor, songs, stories, and parables.

We post quotables by newest submissions first.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"...and, if you can't be that change, then either get out of the way of the person who wants to be that change or support the individual with your financial resources.

-- Mahatma Gandhi...modified by Nicole S. Lawrence     Submitted by Nicole S. Lawrence

Volunteering is so pervasive it's invisible. We take for granted all the things that have been pioneered by concerned, active volunteers.

-- Susan J. Ellis, president of Energize     Submitted by Susan

Our nation will succeed or fail to the degree that all of us -- citizens and businesses alike -- are active participanats in building strong, sustainable and enriching communities.

-- Arnold Hiatt, President, The Stride Rite Foundation     Submitted by Barbara H.

In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all -- security, comfort and freedom.... When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.

-- Edward Gibbon     Submitted by Prof. Andrew Lewis, Director of Community Development, The Learning Institute for Nonprofit Organizations

Volunteers are not servants. Volunteers are partners working together for improving America's future.

-- Mayor Richard Daly     Submitted by Redd Torres Eakin

The era of big government is over, but the era of big challenge is not. We need an era of big citizenship. There are many important people at this summit, but the most important title is 'citizen.' This is our republic. Let us keep it!

-- President Bill Clinton     Submitted by Redd Torres Eakin

We are not going to dwell on those things that divide us. We are going to rejoice in those things that keep us together to make this a better country- to reach down and back to touch every young person in need!

-- Gen. Colin Powell     Submitted by Redd Torres Eakin

Your corn is ripe today, mine will be so tomorrow. 'Tis profitable for us both that I should labor with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you, and know you have as little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account . . . Here then I leave you to labor alone; you treat me in the same manner. The seasons change, and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security.

-- David Hume     Submitted by Meagan Goreski

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

-- Thomas Paine     Submitted by Dena Spanos-Hawkey

The debt that each generation owes to the past, it must pay to the future.

-- Abigail Scott Dunaway     Submitted by Carol Freed

When we dream alone, it is only a dream, but when we dream together, it is the beginning of reality.

Submitted by Nancy Sutter, Volunteer Coordinator for Peel Children's Centre

In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.

-- Marianne Williamson     Submitted by Alan D. Finney, Volunteer Coordinator-KUHF Radio, Texas, USA

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

-- Robert F. Kennedy     Submitted by Carol Freed

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community... and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

-- George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright     Submitted by Mellisa Ferland, Community Center Building Committee Chair, New Hampshire, USA

I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced that they are about to change the world. I am more awed by ... those who ... struggle to make one small difference after another.

-- Ellen Goodman     Submitted by James Noonan, Volunteer Program Manager, The Horizons Initiative, Boston, MA

This is the true joy in life being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. . . 

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. 

Life is no brief candle to me. It's a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

-- George Bernard Shaw     Submitted by Harvey LeCato, Certified Trainer, Sertoma Int'l, Colorado

It is not enough to merely exist. It's not enough to say, 'I'm earning enough to live and support my family. I do my work well. I'm a good parent.' That's all very well. But you must do something more. Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every person has to seek in his own way to make his own self more noble and to realize his own true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it's a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man's help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don't live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too. 

-- Albert Schweitzer Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1952     Submitted by Gene Budbill, Snohomish County Chapter, American Red Cross, Washington, USA

I did not find the world desolate when I entered it. My fathers planted for me before I arrived, so I plant for those who come after me.

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

Each one of us should lead a life stirring enough to start a movement.

-- Max Lucado, in On the Anvil     Submitted by Anonymous

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world

-- Anne Frank     Submitted by Sue Staggs, State Director, Tomorrows Leaders Today, Texas

You have to become involved to make an impact. No one is impressed with the won/loss record of the referee.

-- John Holcomb     Submitted by Sue Staggs, State Director, Tomorrows Leaders Today, Texas

Be the change that you wish to see in the world

-- Gandhi     Submitted by Brian Cugelman, IYV Webmaster, UNV , Germany

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

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.

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

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.

-- Tom Brokaw     Submitted by Cathie Waugh, Volunteer Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity, Colorado

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 by Nicolette Ryan, Volunteer Coordinator, Central Arizona Shelter Services

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 by Keith Goheen, Volunteer Coordinator, First State Community Action Agency, Delaware USA

Paul Revere earned his living as a silversmith.   But what do we remember him for?  His volunteer work.  All activism is volunteering in that it's done above and beyond earning a living and deals with what people really care passionately about.  Remember, no one gets paid to rebel.  All revolutions start with volunteers.

-- Susan J. Ellis     Submitted by Susan in response to a workshop participant who heard Susan say this and wanted it shared.

When were the good and the brave ever in a majority?

-- Henry David Thoreau     Submitted by Nancy McGee

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.

-- Woodrow Wilson     Submitted by Lori Farley

I believe in the spirit of sharing and I believe we are what we are because of those around us.

I am what I am because of other people and they are what they are because of me being around.

One hand cannot clap on its own but it needs the other hand to make a clap. 

Many hands make light work.

-- Maasai tribal sayings     Submitted by Kores Ole Musuni