You might not remember how you spent some of your time last week. But if you have ever donated or invested time volunteering or supporting a cause dear to you, you probably remember that experience well, especially how helping others made you feel. There is a pretty good chance you still feel proud of how you spent that time.
Why? Studies have shown helping others makes us feel fulfilled and happy. And in the process, enables us to learn new skills, gain valuable experience and cultivate strong professional and personal relationships.
During this season of giving, why not make an impact in our community and volunteer your time to a good cause? Extensive research has been done on the benefits of volunteering. Here are some of the important findings:
Volunteering is good for physical and mental health:
Volunteering keeps your body active; this is especially important for retired individuals. Research shows that seniors who volunteer report better physical health and lower levels of depression and anxiety when compared to seniors who do not volunteer.
Volunteering helps you make connections:
By volunteering, you can meet like-minded people, and most likely they will be exceptional people, who care about others and value spending their time in a meaningful way to serve populations in need. Forming these connections can result in lifelong friendships.
Volunteering can teach you valuable job skills:
If you want to learn or refine some skills, you can easily acquire them by volunteering. Volunteer opportunities are available in a variety of different fields. Many websites such as Volunteer Match specialize in matching you with the right volunteer opportunities and allow you to refine your search so you can look for specific openings that will help you build your resume with the skills you need.
Volunteering can help you become a leader:
Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to grow and hone your leadership skills. For instance, many organizations are looking for committed, mission-focused individuals to serve on their boards and committees, while others need help developing programs or events. Regardless, these experiences will help you build and expand on your leadership skills.
Volunteering can help you find a job:
If you are looking for a job, volunteering can help you network, demonstrate your skills, help you gain knowledge and unlock opportunities.
Volunteering can make you happy:
Something happens in our brain when we help others, we feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Research tells us that volunteering, simply put, makes us happy and connected to our community.
Volunteering can teach you about an industry:
If you are curious about an industry, and you want to learn more about it, you can jump right into action and gain experience by volunteering in that field. This is an easy way to see if a career in that industry is right for you.
Volunteering is fun:
Yes, volunteering can be really fun! Find a team where you fit in, enjoy the interactions with your team as you plan and organize activities together, build camaraderie and eventually, the natural bonding that makes every volunteering experience special will kick in.
Volunteering creates a more resilient community:
If you care about the community where you live (think of your neighborhood, county, state, nation or the world), ask yourself for a minute, what if each of us shared just a bit of our time and skills to make our community better? Would we not all reap the benefit from a stronger and healthier community?
Now, if you are asking yourself how you can get all the benefits of volunteering, try it out yourself!
With onsite and offsite opportunities, Healthcare Network is an excellent place to start your next volunteering journey. Healthcare Network is a medical and dental home to approximately 50,000 patients annually. Primary care services include adult and senior care, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and pharmacy as well as dental care and behavioral health for both adults and children. At Healthcare Network, no one is denied care based on income or insurance status. Apply at healthcareswfl.org/volunteers or send an email to email@example.com.
About the Author
Antonello Castaldi is the volunteer program manager for Healthcare Network, a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring quality healthcare is accessible to everyone in our community.