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Washington state residents volunteer at a rate higher than the national average — more than 30 percent of Washingtonians spend time volunteering. This is about 5 percent higher than average, according to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

April is National Volunteer Month, so get involved in a local effort like the Volunteer Week Fair held at the Bellingham Central Library. Browse booths of several nonprofit organizations throughout Whatcom County to see which is the best fit for you. Or look into something like the team effort between Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College for Connecting Communities Service Days.

The labor bureau’s survey found that on average, Americans spend about 52 hours per year volunteering. Food distribution programs — like Meals on Wheels — have the highest number of volunteers, with children’s services, like the Girl Scouts, being a close second.

It’s no coincidence that National Volunteer Month happens to fall in the same month as Earth Day, celebrated yearly on April 22. Consider cleaning up a park, planting trees or flowers, picking up trash, or building a birdhouse. Check out earthday.org for more conservation tips and what you can do to make a difference.

Not only is volunteering good for the community, it’s good for you. Study shows that volunteering improves your psychological and physical health. It’s also a great way to socialize and meet others with similar passions. This month, as the weather warms and the sun peeks out, get outside and do something good for the community — or the earth.

For more content like this, check out our March article on the Interfaith Coalition here.

"April is National Volunteer Month, so get involved in a local effort like the Volunteer Week Fair held at the Bellingham Central Library."