|You can make a difference|
It is a proven fact that volunteering makes you feel good. But did you realize that volunteering also results in improved physical and mental health? Helping others can diminish the effects of serious and minor disorders, both psychological and physical. Studies have shown volunteering can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, boost immune systems, relieve the impact of stress, and improve self-esteem. The act of volunteering—whether by mentoring a child, coaching a sports team, giving a hand at a local soup kitchen, visiting homebound seniors, or helping out with a community clean-up project—could transform your life in ways you never imagined.
The key to creating a successful volunteering experience is to become involved with something that brings out the best in you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different opportunities in order find something you really love. Adult-literacy groups need teachers, non-profit centers need professional services, and animal shelters need helpers, just to name a few. The important thing is to do something. Helping others doesn’t have to require a lot of time and you can set a volunteer schedule that works best for you. Volunteering is a great way to gain a whole new perspective on life. There is conceivably no other self-improvement endeavor—physically, mentally, or spiritually—that rewards you as richly as volunteering to do something important for someone else. Go share your gifts!
Volunteering and giving to a worthy cause can help you build connections and strengthen your community. Whether you enjoy physical activity, working with kids, helping senior citizens, organizing books, or hanging out with animals, you can find a volunteer project that fits your skills. If you’re looking for ways to make a difference, here are some easy ways you can start:
- Coaching – check your local parks and recreation website to learn more about getting involved with after-school programs or summer camps for youth sports.
- Mentoring – give your support through public schools or libraries to help at-risk students stay in school and graduate.
- Supplying food– nearly 9 million seniors in America face the threat of hunger, by volunteering for a community food bank you can help your neighbors.
- Rescuing animals – if you don’t have the ability to adopt, consider fostering an animal from your local shelter, to provide temporary love until they find a home.
- Joining community cleanup day – check your local newspapers and TV stations for adopt-a-road or park cleanup projects to help beautify your community.