When it comes to helping others, the Sunflower State remains a leader.
Kansas recently was ranked No. 4 in the nation for volunteerism, listed in a study from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that works to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
Some 35 percent of Kansans volunteered in some capacity in 2013, according to the study. About two-thirds of Kansans participated in what the study termed “informal volunteering,” such as helping out a neighbor.
The CNCS estimated Kansas contributions at a whopping $1.8 billion in value, involving an estimated 82.2 million hours of service.
Results showed 35 percent of Kansas volunteers devoted time to religious groups; 25 percent helped educational ventures; and nearly 17 percent pitched in with social services organizations.
As good as Kansas’ overall No. 4 ranking was, the state’s teenagers topped that by turning in the highest rate of teen volunteerism in the nation. More than 40 percent of Kansas teens reportedly volunteered between 2011 and 2013.
When youngsters help in such a way, they learn firsthand how volunteerism boosts personal morale and community pride. Habits formed early on tend to stick with them through adulthood, which makes Kansas’ lofty teen ranking all the more encouraging.
The holiday season brought proof of folks of all ages stepping up to volunteer, from serving as bell ringers for the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign to the armies of kind souls who aided in various endeavors designed to help those less fortunate.
Volunteers also make a difference year-round in ways ranging from being faithful blood donors to delivering Meals on Wheels — a list of contributions that could go on and on.
At the same time, it’s safe to say many organizations could use more of a boost from volunteers of all ages. Apathy too often can get in the way of involvement.
While there’s always room for improvement, the national recognition of Kansans’ kindness was more than welcome. Such generosity, thankfully, continues to be a hallmark of a state where helping others comes second nature to many.