Oh, Mary

Why Seattle Values Volunteerism and Why You Should Get Involved

August 27, 2018
April Stratemeyer

There is a great migration happening in the United States. New York City is seeing more people moving out of the city than it has seen in almost a decade. Between June 2016 and June 2017, more people moved out of California than moved in to California.

Meanwhile, the latest data tells us 1,100 people are moving to Seattle each and every week.

Seattle has become one of this country’s most popular cities. It has also become one of the most interesting cities in the world.

Sure, there’s a killer job market and plenty of breweries and specialty food stops and shops to keep the locals employed, content and well fed, but what is it that’s really keeping people so passionately in love with the great Pacific Northwest?

One of the key reasons is volunteerism.

One-third of all Seattle-area residents participated in volunteer work in 2014. (Reference) The city has always landed very high in rankings of U.S. metros whose residents volunteer their time.

Are Seattleites just really passionate about removing highway trash or making a distinctly vegan chicken noodle soup at their local soup kitchen? No. They just do volunteerism better than other cities do.

Seattle makes volunteering fun. Like kayaking Lake Union the day after the 4th of July to pick up fireworks trash, or pouring beer at a summer food festival with a local social club like The World is Fun. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a bright orange suit or have a court-ordered citation attached to it. You can get out of the house, meet cool people, give back to the community, and do something fun, all while volunteering.

Unfortunately, there continues to be negative stigmas attached to volunteering. There are many who believe that volunteering is only something that is done out of obligation or for penance. Such perceptions can limit participation in volunteer efforts. Negative assumptions also insinuate that the people who take part in volunteering fall under some specific lower level of the population. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Volunteering is something everyone can do for their own good, and for the good of their community.

People who pass through Seattle often say the people they’ve met are very passionate about their city. It’s an easy city to get attached to. From the Seahawks to the beauty of Mount Rainer, there’s a lot to love.

When locals take the initiative to get involved in their community, meeting the people who run local businesses or nonprofits, and getting to know their stories, and working together, it can build meaningful relationships that can’t quite be found elsewhere.

Volunteerism gives people a connection to the city, the people in it, and their personal place within it. Without it, we would all be worse off. And Seattle shows no signs of letting that happen anytime soon.