Volunteerism makes critical contributions to individual lives and society as a whole. However, to date, few studies have investigated volunteerism within Latino communities, a large and growing US population. The aim of this study was to understand how non-metropolitan US Latinos perceive volunteerism, as well as to determine what motivates and what deters their participation in volunteer programs. Our research team conducted six focus groups with 36 Latina women living in the State of Illinois. The focus groups covered topics such as the definition of volunteerism, participation motives and barriers, personal volunteer experience, and Latino culture, community, and organizations. We also assessed demographic information. Results from this study indicate that Latinas have a unique understanding of the concept of volunteerism. Participants associated everyday “helping” with volunteerism, establishing commonplace forms of aid as perhaps a “Latino way of volunteering.” We found time-consuming activities such as family responsibilities and work to be deterrents to Latinas participating in more formal volunteer activities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration
- Strategy and Management