Volunteering promotes life-long learning, Iddins says

Brenda Iddins sizedBrenda Iddins, an instructor in the School of Nursing, volunteers as a medical officer with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Her husband began volunteering first and encouraged her to join.

“It is a unique opportunity to give back to the community we live in and our state,” Iddins said. For example, when the oil spill occurred the team went to the Gulf Coast for several days to photograph the area. They also photographed the damage of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes “so leaders in the state would have a better perspective of the extent of damage that occurred.”

Iddins is one of five UAB employees we’re spotlighting during National Volunteer Week to inspire, recognize and encourage people to seek out imaginative ways to contribute in their communities. It’s needed now more than ever. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals barely one in four people did volunteer work in 2013, and rates were less than one in five among those ages 20-24.

Iddins said volunteering has provided life-changing educational opportunities.

“Civil Air Patrol has many opportunities for educating both cadet and adult volunteers,” Iddins said. “For adults, there are valuable continuing education opportunities that can be applicable to one’s work as well as to the CAP. For example, I have taken online and live courses in emergency management, leadership and communication skills.”

Find volunteer opportunities through Hands On Birmingham, which connects people with organized and meaningful opportunities to improve their community.

“I benefit in many ways when volunteering — the sense of giving back, helping others during stressful times, the friendships that are formed and the opportunities to develop skills that are unique and valuable,” Iddins said.

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We want to inspire and encourage people to seek out imaginative ways to use their time and talents to serve others and celebrate the service of those who do. Tell us your story.

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