The Importance of Volunteers
Kevin J. Todeschi
A.R.E. volunteers are the heartbeat (and remain at the core) of so many of our ongoing activities! These events occur in Virginia Beach, throughout the United States and Canada, and even in dozens of places around the world. Our volunteers help sponsor local conference programs. They host ASFG Study Group meetings in their homes. They present local inquirers meetings. They provide all manner of educational materials at local events. They help ship books to prisoners. They work in our volunteer call center, answering every kind of question. They commit to daily working with prayer and sending out healing energy. They work in every department at A.R.E. Headquarters: from the Library and the Visitors Center to Conferences and Buildings and Grounds. The officers on the Board of Trustees of the Edgar Cayce organizations are all volunteers. In a very real sense, our volunteers make the work of A.R.E. possible.
In Virginia Beach alone, last year our volunteers logged a total of 16,886 volunteer hours in 24 different departments! If we simply calculated having to pay $7.25 per hour (Virginia's minimum wage), that would account for more than $122,000 in non-paid labor! We are so grateful to our volunteers! (If you live in the Virginia Beach area and would like to be considered for volunteer activities at headquarters, visit: EdgarCayce.org/volunteers.)
In terms of the greatest number of hours logged at headquarters by any one group of volunteers, that distinction goes to the Board of Trustees. In addition to meeting in Virginia Beach three times per year (at their own expense), the board collectively logs more than 5,000 work hours each year in Board phone calls, committee meetings, and on-site visits. Thank you, A.R.E. Board Members!
Next to the Board, the next five most active volunteer areas consist of: 1) Helping at A.R.E. Conferences in Virginia Beach; 2) Taking part in the Glad Helpers Healing Prayer Group that meets each Wednesday morning (and is open to the public); 3) Talking to callers and answering members' questions in our Volunteer Call (and email) Center; 4) Volunteers giving the free daily lecture at our Visitor Center (offered every afternoon); and, 5) Working in our Prison Program-opening and logging correspondence and mailing out books to inmates throughout the country-in fact, our Prison Program gets more mail than any other department at the organization!
In terms of opportunities outside of Virginia Beach, there are dozens of ongoing volunteer teams throughout the United States, involving the efforts of hundreds of individuals. These volunteers help A.R.E. Headquarters put on conferences and retreats in their areas, as well as hosting their own local conferences. At over 100 various programs each year, they work the book tables, the study group information tables, and the membership tables. They write articles for local newsletters. They update website information. They answer calls from local inquirers. They take "road trips" to surrounding communities and provide every manner of information about the Cayce work. They give conference speakers rides to and from the airport and wherever else needed. They open their homes for regular meetings. A conservative estimate is that they collectively account for more than 30,000 volunteer hours each year! (If you live in the United States or Canada and would like to be considered for volunteer activities near you, Contact Us to let us know!) Many of our volunteers also gather each year at our annual Membership Congress.
Our international activities at dozens of Edgar Cayce Centers throughout the world are also made possible by volunteers. For example, the biggest Edgar Cayce Center outside of Virginia Beach is in Japan. There all of the Board members are also volunteers. Volunteers help the center publish its magazine and newsletters. Volunteers help the center translate the Edgar Cayce readings into Japanese. (In fact, the Center plans to have all readings translated into Japanese by 2020!) During the Center's 20th-anniversary conference last year, 10 volunteers helped host more than 300 participants. According to Shigeru Mitsuda, the Center's president, "Without the help of volunteers, we could not continue to carry out our activities!" (If you are a member of the international community and would like to see what kinds of activities are available near you, visit: EdgarCayce.org/international and click on "events.")
On behalf of all of us, I wish to extend a big THANK YOU to all of our volunteers for making this work possible!
Kevin J. Todeschi is executive director and CEO of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. (EdgarCayce.org) and Atlantic University (AtlanticUniv.edu), responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Edgar Cayce organizations. As both student and teacher of the Cayce material for 35 years, he has lectured on five continents in front of thousands of individuals. He envisioned the Cayce organization's multimillion dollar renovation and construction projects, which have added 11,000 square feet to the international headquarters campus in Virginia Beach, Va., and renovated the organization's facilities. A prolific writer, he is the author of more than 25 books, including Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, Edgar Cayce on Vibrations, Edgar Cayce on Soul Mates, Edgar Cayce on Auras and Colors (co-author), and his most recent book Contemporary Cayce, an overview of the Cayce material in easy-to-understand language, which he co-authored with Henry Reed.