Unless you live under a rock, your life has been impacted by the efforts of a volunteer.
There’s just no way around it.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes …from the local church youth group raising money for the homeless, to the first responders in rural communities everywhere, people are giving their time and their talents to help others.
This month, the nation takes time to honor the efforts of the amazing men, women and children, who make the world a better place through volunteering.
While a great way to celebrate National Volunteer Month is to thank every volunteer you meet, a more fulfilling way to observe this holiday is to start volunteering yourself!
Here are some of the reasons why people choose to volunteer…perhaps they’ll encourage you to volunteer too!
It reduces stress
You shouldn’t be.
When you’re focused on meeting the needs of others, any normal “worry routines” you’ve developed are interrupted, thus reducing your stress levels.
Volunteers report feeling more joy, optimism and control over their own situations, strengthening their immune systems and giving them a better quality of life.
It saves resources
The Corporation for National and Community Service estimates that in California, a volunteer’s time is worth $26.87 per hour!
When people volunteer their time and energy it helps their local communities save money for other needed improvements. For example, when communities aren’t paying someone to clean up the roadways, they can use that money towards other things, such as the community food pantry.
It provides experience
Think you’d like to make a career switch? Volunteer your time in the industry you think you’d like to be involved in, and see for yourself if it would be worth the effort to change careers.
Volunteering can also help you make connections that could make the transition to another career easier.
It builds self esteem and fuels personal growth
When you make the effort to volunteer at something that is outside of your comfort zone, you learn more about yourself.
You build skills and gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. This in turn will lead to the desire to stretch yourself even more in your own personal life as well.
It strengthens your community
Volunteers often contribute to the following kinds of community businesses and programs.:
- Daycare and eldercare
- Schools (tutoring, literacy programs, assisting educators in the classroom)
- Youth programs (after-school, mentoring, etc.)
- Community public works (cleaning up public areas such as parks or roadways)
It helps to build your network
When you volunteer, you’re exposed to people and organizations outside of your normal sphere of contacts. This helps both you and your community because the more individuals you connect with, the more opportunities you have to pull together resources to help meet the needs of your community.
While it may feel uncomfortable working with others you wouldn’t normally work with, the experience will encourage you to come up with creative solutions that you might not have thought of otherwise.
It’s a lot of fun
Working together on a worthwhile project, while rewarding, can be frustrating if you forget to have fun.
Bottom line, everyone working together is doing so because they have a passion for helping others, so remember to keep it light as you work towards the goals you each have in common.
It helps you learn a lot about…
- Existing local resources for individuals in the community who are in need.
- The inner mechanics of the government by working with local non-profit agencies
- Yourself. You may discover hidden talents you didn’t know you had!
It’s personally satisfying
When you’ve set out to accomplish a goal, in partnership with others in your community, and you finally achieve that goal, the feeling of personal satisfaction is like nothing else.
Knowing that you’ve helped to improve the lives of others in your community, and helped to make it stronger, is a very satisfying feeling…one that you’ll want to repeat, over and over!