A big thanks to all our recent donors!
A big thanks to all our recent donors!
Volunteering is important as it offers essential help to worthwhile causes, people in need, and the wider community. Indeed, many organizations and charities rely on the generosity of volunteers as often they’re only part-funded through government or local councils, and cannot afford to pay salaries for all their staff. In fact, many companies depend almost solely upon teams of volunteers to help them thrive and do their work.
Of course, the benefits of volunteering for those receiving help are clear. Whether it’s providing kids free tutoring afterschool or litter picking from your local park or stream, the benefits to the receiver and the wider community are usually part of the reason why you decide to volunteer in the first place.
But did you realize just how important volunteering could be for the person doing it? In fact, volunteering is beneficial to the doer for a whole host or reasons, including stress reduction, combating depression and providing a sense of purpose.
And while studies do show that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment. Even giving in simple ways can help those in need and improve your overall health and happiness. Below just why volunteering is important with seven key benefits of this altruistic act.
“Volunteering is important as it offers essential help to worthwhile causes, people in need, and the wider community.”
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan
If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. In fact, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together and volunteering lets you do just that. In fact, volunteering is an important and interesting way to meet people who you might not normally connect with: people from different age groups, ethnicities or social groups. Because volunteering is open to everyone, it allows you to meet a wide variety of people from all sorts of walks of life, something that can only open your eyes further.
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment. And working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.
A National Youth Agency report stated that, young people aged 11 to 25 “repeatedly stressed that volunteering had increased their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief.” This self-confidence boost was shown to be strongly linked to improved communication skills, especially amongst young volunteers who were previously nervous about meeting new people.
Interestingly, volunteering has distinct health benefits that can boost your mental and – perhaps more surprisingly – physical health. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might benefit from lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. A 2013 study from UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute of over 3,300 U.S. adults revealed that 76 per cent of those in the United States who volunteer said it makes them feel physically healthier. Also, around 25 per cent said that volunteering had been important in helping them manage a chronic health condition.
When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. Indeed, the social contact aspect of helping others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn combats against feelings of loneliness and depression. Finally, volunteering boosts mental health simply because it makes you happier; the so-called 'helper's high'. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others, and by measuring so-called brain activity and happiness hormones, researchers have found that being helpful to others can deliver great pleasure.
Because volunteering means choosing to work without receiving monetary compensation, people often choose to give their time to issues or organizations they feel are important or have a special connection to.
For example, if you're living with or have recovered from an illness and want to dedicate some of your spare time to a charity that helps others living with the same condition. Volunteering like this helps address a social problem that is meaningful to you and in turn helps to build a sense of purpose, which furthermore boosts your own happiness.
You can try volunteering at any age to help build a sense of purpose, but it’s often particularly common in older adults – those that have retired or maybe lost a partner or friends. Whatever your age of life story, volunteering can be an important technique to help give your life new meaning and direction!
One other benefit of volunteering is that focusing on others can give us a deeper sense of perspective and help distract us from negative thoughts and help stop rumination. Volunteering often involves helping those in need and can be useful in showing us that, in fact, our own lives are not as bad as we thought they were.
In an increasingly competitive job market, volunteering experience can be incredibly useful. It shows potential employers that you can take initiative and that you’re willing to give your own time to improve the world for other people.
Furthermore, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important common skills used in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, planning and organization. Indeed, if you haven’t had a full-time job before then volunteering is an essential way to prove your skills when you do go for work interviews.
Also, if you’ve just graduated or looking for your first job, volunteering is an important and relatively easy way to get a foot in the door of a company you’d like to work with. Even if there's no immediate chance of employment afterwards, volunteering can help you to make connections for the future.
Alternatively, if you’ve already had jobs and are considering a change of direction, volunteering is an important and fun way to try out different career options, especially if you’re not quite sure of where you want to go next. Indeed, volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment!
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The Miracle League of the Northern Ohio Valley Panhandle
621 Market Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
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