By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – December is a time of giving, and Americans spend large amounts on material gifts for the holidays. However, the more lasting gifts are personal ones, the hours people spend volunteering.

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More than 63 million people volunteered through organizations between September 2012 and September 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More women than men, and those 35-44 were more likely to volunteer. They spent a median of 50 hours during that period.

Married people gave more time than unmarried and parents with children under 18 gave most.

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Better educated people volunteered more and were involved with more groups than the less educated. Religious organizations were helped the most with education and youth service close behind.

While young people spent less time volunteering, still it was encouraging to learn from the Clarke University Poll of Emerging Adults 10 to 29, 86% agreed that it’s important to do some good in the world.

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A heartening start for the new year. Happy holidays!