Happy National Volunteer Week! It is again the time to celebrate and show gratefulness to all the volunteers. Volunteering often is a form of service acting without expecting anything in return. For many volunteers, however, they agree that they get more than they give throughout the volunteering journey.
The magic of volunteering is that it brings values to all parties in the community. It is a money-can’t-buy experience and should be more than just something to put off until one has extra time and money. Let’s discover some of the reasons why we should consider making volunteering a part of our everyday life.
- Volunteering connects you to others
Volunteering brings together people from all walks of life to work on a common project or goal and contributes to “social cohesion” or “social capital”. It allows one to strengthen existing relationship and connect with one’s community.
If you are new to an area, volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends. It allows you to meet people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fulfilling activities. By committing to a shared activity, it strengthens your ties to the community, broadens your support network and allows you to develop a sense of belonging in the community.
- Volunteers live longer and are healthier
Doing volunteer work you find interesting can be a relaxing and energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school or family commitments. It helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety as it allows you to focus on someone else instead of keep on thinking about your own problems. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have also discovered that helping others delivers immense pleasure. The more you give, the happier you are.
During later life, volunteering indeed is more beneficial for one’s health than exercising and eating well. Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, more robust psychological well-being, and live longer.
- Volunteering is good for your career
Although volunteer work is unpaid, it does not mean the skills you learn are not useful. At times, volunteering opportunities provide extensive training and allow you to acquire useful skills and knowledge for your future career.
You can also build upon skills you already have and even to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It provides a platform for you to create new “weak tie” that lead to career opportunities. Volunteering in your current career industry or even the area you would like to transition into is an effective way to leverage social connections for career gain.
- Volunteering is good for the society
Volunteering has direct impacts on lives. Your actions, whether big or small will have an impact on someone’s life.
Volunteering gives you the chance to enact changes and create the kind of community and world you want to live in. It is to be a part of something bigger than yourself and use your skills, knowledge, and civic responsibility for the great good.
If you haven’t volunteered before, it is never too late to start. Join the volunteering family, take part in fueling the fires of social change and share more love with the world.