“Where do you find the time?” is a question that could be posed to many parents, but the 2012 Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report shows that many in this group are carving space in their busy schedules to help others in their communities. Allison Moore, a military spouse and mother of three young children in Missouri, is a prime example.
The demands of modern parenting don't leave a lot of spare time for volunteering, and raising kids ages 5, 7, and 8 adds another layer of busyness to Allison's day. Military moms like her also face special challenges above and beyond typical parental duties with solo parenting stints, short-notice deployments, and frequent moves becoming part of the routine.
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) researchers behind the VCLA report found that parents volunteer at a rate seven points higher than the general population and service peaks with parents in their late 40s. Public schools are often hubs for community activity, and parents often step up to help with any number of activities from candy sales to chaperoning events or trips.
Allison began helping out at Thayer Elementary School inside the military base when her kids reached school age, and just found herself becoming more and more involved. Now she spends about 40 hours a week at Thayer, including serving as an after-school tutor with the Waynesville AmeriCorps program that helps military children who often need academic help due to the frequent changes that come with military life.
The stay-at-home mom never saw herself working at a school, but once she started volunteering, she fell in love with the work. Allison says she does it for herself and her children, but everyone in the community benefits from parents like her that make time to help.
To discover other interesting findings from the Volunteering and Civic Life in America report, click the graphic above.
The Waynesville AmeriCorps program received a 2012 National Service Impact Award for its outstanding work in its community with military families. You can learn more about its work at the CNCS Service Impact Awards page.