"Life's most persistent and urgent questions is, what are you doing for others?" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When’s the last time you volunteered for something you’re passionate about? How did the experience make you feel? To say that each and every one of us is always busy is an understatement; just the thought of volunteering might seem like an impossible feat. But, did you know that volunteering your time and talents can be not only beneficial for others, but is good for you, too? As summer approaches, put those extra hours of daylight to good use. Here are four good reasons to volunteer:
Volunteering connects you to others. Here at the Y, we strive to build healthier and stronger communities. By volunteering as a coach, a mentor, or a board member, you can make a real difference in the lives of those in our communities. Volunteering also helps you make new friends, grow your network and improve social skills.
Volunteering is good for your spirit, mind and body! Human beings are hard-wired to give back to others. The more we give, the better we feel. On top of that, making a meaningful connection with others has been shown to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Volunteering can also increase confidence, provide purpose and help you to stay physically active. The better you feel about yourself the more likely you are to accomplish your goals and improve your life.
Volunteering can advance your career! Not only can you gain new skills, but it can help build upon skills you already have. Volunteering can also help you try out a new career without making the long term commitment. And, don’t forget about all the people you meet while volunteering! You never know who you’ll meet or how they might be able to help you in your career.
Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your everyday life. Finding a cause you’re passionate about and volunteering your time can be a very energizing escape from your day to do day life. It can provide you with more creativity and motivation, which in turn, will have a positive impact on your personal and professional life.
Volunteering is the right thing to do for so many reasons: improving your community, for your health, and for your personal and professional development. To learn more about volunteering at the YMCA, stop by the front desk of your local branch. You can also search online and in your communities for other opportunities. Get out there and volunteer. Do good, feel happier, build relationships, learn new skills and have a positive impact on something that matters to you!
The Health Benefits of Volunteering: Recent Research (PDF) – A comprehensive discussion of the most recent research on volunteering, citing specific studies outlining the benefits to health. (Corporation for National and Community Service)
Volunteer Resources – A series of articles to learn more about volunteering. (Idealistvolunteering.org)