Points of Light and the History of National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month. It was established in April 1991 by President George W. Bush as part of his 1,000 Points of Light campaign. During this month, people all over the United States honor volunteers for all of the hard work they’ve done for others’ benefit in their communities, and some go out and do some volunteering themselves. There is also a National Volunteer Week, which took place this year between April 7 and April 13. The first NVW was in 1974, and since then it has been growing and growing as a movement. It places a special emphasis on creating conversations about volunteering on social media.

Points of Light is a pretty neat organization. Its mission is simple: to create an environment where everyone feels as though they can help to change the problems their communities face. The organization has lofty goals: it wants to help work towards The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are a collection of 17 goals for the year 2030 including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, ending gender inequality, and combating climate change. Points of Light aims to make it easier for everyday people to work towards these goals by connecting them to nonprofits and volunteer organizations, issuing calls to action, and advocating for policies that promote volunteerism.

The organization was established in May 1990, about a year before the first National Volunteer month. In 2001, it worked with 1,000 other volunteer organizations to celebrate the United Nations’ Year of Service. Since then, it has been working to empower everyday citizens and honor volunteers for their hard work.

Remember that every act of service is important, no matter how small it seems— even if you’ve just made someone smile, or improved their life in some small way, you’ve done a great thing! This week Susquehanna’s Her Campus chapter will be celebrating National Volunteer Month with articles about service, so check back to see how our writers are making a difference!