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Do you know the Benefits of Volunteering?

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Volunteering helps you make new friends and contacts

One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.

Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills

While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it's easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.

Volunteering increases self-confidence.

Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you're going through challenging times.Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it's especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.

I have limited mobility - can I still volunteer?

Whether due to a lack of transportation, time constraints, a disability or other reasons, many people prefer to volunteer via phone or computer. There are many projects where you can help. Writing and graphic design lends itself to working at home, and in today's digital age organizations need help with email and websites.

If you think home-based volunteering might be right for you, contact the chapter (717) 441-6041 and ask what some of the possibilities might be.

When it comes to volunteering, passion and positivity are the only requirements!

While learning new skills can be beneficial to many, it's not a requirement for a fulfilling volunteer experience. Bear in mind that the most valuable skills you can bring to any volunteer effort are compassion, an open mind, a willingness to do whatever is needed, and a positive attitude.

How to find the right volunteer opportunity

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It's also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization's needs. The following questions can help you narrow your options:

Would you like to work with people or would you rather work in solitude?

Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?

Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?

How much time are you willing to commit?How much responsibility are you ready to take on?

What skills can you bring a volunteer job?

Consider several possibilities

In your search for the right volunteer opportunity, don't limit yourself to just one specific type of job. Sometimes an opportunity looks great on paper, but the reality is quite different. Learn about volunteer opportunities in your organization and get a feel for what they are like and if you click with other staff and volunteers. The more satisfaction you have as a volunteer, the better your contributions and the more likely you'll continue.

Enjoy yourself. Most importantly, make sure you're having fun! The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization.

Article Modified but Provided by HelpGuide.org                                                                                                 Authors: Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Gina Kemp, M.A.

 

 

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