The article provides a brief historical overview of international volunteer service, along with changes to traditional forms of international service. It presents a general typology for contemporary international-service programs and reviews how these forms differ in practice. Using the limited data available, it provides a demographic snapshot of the scale and prevalence of international volunteer service from the United States and globally. The article reviews critical intersections between international service and social work, and describes debates of particular concern to the social worker profession. Finally, the article outlines important areas for future social work research and practice.
Benjamin J. Lough
Eleanor L. Brilliant
Volunteer activity is linked to the concept of American democracy; it is also the source of early social work in the nineteenth century. Volunteering is action taken by personal choice and generally without expectation of pay; it takes many forms. In 2006, it represented over 8 billion hours of organization-related service in the United States. There are costs as well as benefits in volunteering. In the human services, volunteers have a variety of roles from serving on leadership Boards to providing direct service; tension may exist between professional staff and volunteers, and volunteer management is important for effective use of volunteers.
Jerry D. Marx
Philanthropy can be defined as the voluntary effort to increase the well-being of humankind. It includes the giving of money, time, or other resources to charitable organizations. Philanthropy is especially important in the United States, because of the nation's emphasis on private initiative and minimal government in promoting societal well-being. The profession of social work has its roots in the development of a more scientific approach to philanthropy. In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, social workers have faced increased challenges in soliciting donations to human service charities.
Diana R. Garland
The term “Christian social services” refers to the involvement of persons and agencies that identify themselves as having a Christian faith orientation that motivates their response to the material and interpersonal needs of persons not met by family or the larger community. This entry describes formalized services provided through organizations, including congregations, as well as agencies and organizations affiliated with congregations.
Amanda Moore McBride
Civic engagement is the backbone of the social work profession. Through our civic mission, we have long organized and empowered citizens in common pursuits to address social, economic, and political conditions. In the United States, the status of social and political engagement is of heightened concern, particularly as emerging research demonstrates a range of effects. The challenge for social work is to increase the capacity of the nonprofit sector to promote and maximize engagement, especially among low-income and low-wealth individuals, through theory-driven, evidence-based interventions.
Miriam Dinerman, Kim Lorber, and Adele Weiner
Margaret Gibelman (1947–2005) was a scholar of the social work profession, the social service delivery system, and social work education. She was a faculty member at Rutgers University, Catholic University, and Yeshiva University.
Elizabeth Ross Haynes (1883–1953) worked to improve the quality of life in the Black community through volunteer work and employment in social services. Her philosophy is communicated in her publications Unsung Heroes (1921) and The Black Boy of Atlanta (1952).
David G. Gil
Violet Sieder (1909–1988) was a social welfare educator and leader. She taught social planning, community organization, and rehabilitation at the Florence Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University. She organized the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition, serving as its first president (1975–1981).
Dennis L. Poole
Voluntarism can be interpreted at the levels of values, structure, and ideology. In Western society, voluntarism rests heavily on secular and religious values originating in both Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. Today the voluntary sector in the United States can be divided into five main types: social support networks, grassroots associations, nonprofit organizations, human service agencies, and private foundations. At the level of ideology, voluntarism can be interpreted as “civil society.”
Kenneth S. Carpenter
Kurt Reichert (1916–2006) and Betty Reichert (1916–2004) contributed to the health field as program and community planners, administrators, teachers, and writers. Kurt was active in the civil rights movement and Betty was an early pioneer in family life education.