Volunteering has been a part of my life for a very long time now. The level at which I volunteer has changed vastly throughout the years. However, no matter the volunteer role I take on, the benefits I gain from volunteering far out weight the cost of my time.
Volunteering doesn’t mean you have to pick up the neighborhood garbage or drive a small child enrolled in the local elementary school to the pumpkin patch. Volunteering is about giving back to your community in a way that best suits your schedule and your unique compilation of talents.
Roles for volunteering:
- Do you excel at filing, secretarial tasks, talking to people on the phone? Almost every organization requires volunteers to assist with the daily operations of an office.
- Do you have access to a pick up truck and can help with the heavy lifting when needed? You are needed everywhere from school events, community markets, church fundraisers and more.
- Are you a former manager and have the skills to motivate and organize large groups of people? Every community organization needs an inspirational leader who can learn the lay of the land and guide others to get the job done.
- If you are reading this, then it is safe to assume that you quite likely have a plentiful supply of blood running through your veins. Giving blood is a tremendous way to support others in your community. Having once been the recipient of donated blood, I can tell you from experience that I have never forgotten the gift others gave to me when I was in dire need of it.
- If you can smile, you can volunteer. A friendly face is all that is needed to get started in a volunteer position.
Where to volunteer:
- Schools. Both elementary and high schools require volunteers for community events.
- Churches: If you belong to a church, why not inquire about a volunteer role there? You can sweep, vacuum, change the flowers, do the paperwork, make phone calls, greet the congregation, serve tea, and in general be a part of your own church community in a helpful way.
- Community events. Running races, baseball games, air shows, main street markets, they all require volunteers to help out and make these events successful. Reach out to your community, you may be just what they are looking for.
- Community organizations. Big Brothers, hospital foundations, the SPCA, the local care facility are all examples of organization that need volunteers on a daily basis.
Benefits of Volunteering:
- A sense of community can be found when you volunteer on a regular basis. You broaden your scope of friends and connect with others for a common goal. This both brings you a sense of belonging and a sense of being needed.
- Volunteering lowers your own stress. As you give of yourself and your time to others, your own worries slide into the background. Volunteering is clear way to be truly present in the moment.
- As you mature, volunteering is a great way to keep your mind active and your life filled with new experiences. I suggest incorporating volunteerism into your life well before the age of retirement so it remains a part of your life once you retire.
- Laughter. I have seldom volunteered where laughter wasn’t present in the experience. It may be true that you experience what you bring to the table, but new friends and new experiences always seem to be surrounded by learning curves and lots of laughter.
- Feeling good about yourself is a direct result of doing something for another person. It is one of the most human and most rewarding aspects of life.
If you can cuddle a puppy, read to a child, smile at a stranger, then you can volunteer. And you might just find your quality of life increase because of your efforts. Happy volunteering!