We always look forward to April, a time when we celebrate National Volunteer Month. It’s a time to honor the more than 62 million Americans – a quarter of the adult population – who give nearly 8 billion hours to causes they believe in. They generously give of their time and energy to make their communities great places to live.

The commemoration also provides the opportunity for us to thank our volunteers, who are building networks of support for caregivers across our nation.

The efforts of REST Trainers and REST Companions are making a big impact on the lives of caregivers and care receivers, according to our most recent research. While receiving respite care, caregivers report having less stress-related symptoms and health problems.  They also report having more social opportunities and are more likely to postpone placing their loved ones into an out-of-home facility.

But the benefits don’t stop there.  Our volunteers tell us how serving has enriched their lives. They report having a sense of purpose. They find satisfaction in knowing they are giving back for a worthwhile cause.

Studies show how volunteering also provides health benefits. Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Today, we have more than 400 REST Trainers and 4,140 REST Companions in 25 states. Our dream is to someday have a REST Companion on every block, in every community, across the nation.  As our network of support continues to grow, that dream can become a reality.

We have a wide range of opportunities to get involved.  To learn about our Train-the-Trainer, Companion and online courses, visit www.restprogram.org.  We also welcome those who’d like to host a training event at their facility.  Contact us at info@restprogram.org for more information.