With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, before deciding consider these benefits and the impact it can have on you, your family and your community.
The first benefit of volunteering is that it connects you to others and to your community and makes it a better place. Dedicating your time helps you find new friends who share common interests and expands your support network.
Another benefit is that it’s good for your mind and body. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, while also giving you a sense of pride and identity. You’ll develop a solid support system, which in turn helps protect you against stress and depression through challenging times. Volunteering is especially beneficial to the health of older adults. Studies have found that these volunteers have a lower mortality rate and have also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
A third benefit of volunteering is that it can help your career. You can gain experience and practice important skills you already use in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving. You might feel more comfortable stretching your wings at work once you’ve sharpened these skills in a volunteer position first.
Finally, volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life. Doing volunteer work you find interesting and meaningful can be an energizing escape from your day-to-day commitments. Helping others can also provide you with renewed motivation, creativity, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
There are numerous opportunities available that you likely would enjoy and are capable of doing. The following questions can help you examine your skills to find the volunteer opportunity you are best suited for:
What causes are important to you?
Are you better behind the scenes or in a more visible hands-on role?
How much time are you willing and able to commit?
What skills do you feel you can bring to a volunteer position?
Where do I find volunteer opportunities?
Community theater, library, museum, senior center, non-profits such as the CASA program, Love, Inc. and others, service organizations such as Lions club or Rotary clubs, schools, youth organizations, places of worship