Six Inspiring Benefits of Volunteering
Want to live longer? Be happier? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, you may want to consider finding a place to volunteer. That’s right, a growing body of research suggests volunteering promotes health benefits in addition to the social benefits. Those who volunteer tend to live longer with higher functional ability and lower rates of depression. In other words, the process of giving back not only helps others but includes a host of health benefits for the person who volunteers. Here are six inspiring reasons to volunteer:
1. Build Bonds and Create friendships – For those that are lonely or want to develop connections with others, volunteering increases social interaction and can help create friendships with other volunteers, those in the organization you volunteer for, and the people you help.
2. Improve mental health – Along with the desire and commitment to help others, the time spent volunteering can stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the body that gives the “warm glow” feeling which can help decrease stress and improve mood and outlook on life, which helps reduce depression and anxiety.
3. Increase self-esteem and confidence – Doing something worthwhile and valuable for others can produce a sense of purpose which can increase energy and feelings of fulfillment, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
4. Promote overall health – Completing mental and/or physical tasks in a volunteer setting is good for the brain and body. Research indicates volunteering at least 100 hours a year (an average of 2 hours a week) is linked with improved brain function, lower blood pressure, increased functional capacity, and overall better quality of life.
5. Build skills and work experience – If you’re still in the work force or in between jobs, volunteering can help build skill sets and experience in a variety of settings, which can be added to a resume. Meeting others may also help you find mentors and build a professional social network.
6. Add fun to your life – Getting out of the house and volunteering can turn on the fun factor. Working toward a common goal and giving back to your community can increase creativity and motivation and this can spread to your personal and professional life.
If you’re ready to move to the next step, there are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in the Pee Dee. Explore opportunities with local nonprofit and cultural organizations, service organizations, schools, faith-based communities, hospitals and clinics for potential options.
You can even join the volunteer program at HopeHealth! HopeHealth is a federally qualified health center serving over 60,000 patients in five counties, with volunteer opportunities currently in Florence and the Pee Dee area. Cindy Averitt, Director of Volunteer Services shares,
“We’re currently working on expanding our volunteer program and have plenty of opportunities for people interested in volunteering.”
· Lobby Greeter | Lobby greeters are the first person to provide a friendly face and cordial welcome with prompt assistance to the guests of HopeHealth.
· Suite Guest Guide | To help guests of HopeHealth find their way – directing, assisting, and supporting at visits as well as supporting staff within the provider suites.
· New Patient Welcome Center| Help orient and familiarize patients to their new medical home.
· Special Programs Volunteer | Serve with special programs at HopeHealth such as seniors, veterans, and patients with certain medical conditions to help with phone calls, surveys, clerical duties, and special events.
· Hope “Buddy” | Join this pioneer program for volunteers to send cards and make calls to help support people who may be isolated or without family close by.
· Event Volunteer | Help with social events such as the monthly “Seniors with Hope” education and support program.
“We’ll train and support each volunteer every step of the way,” Averitt assures, “we want each person who volunteers to enjoy all the benefits from their time helping our patients.”
If you’re interested in exploring any of these volunteer opportunities, please call Cindy Averitt at 843- 687-4172, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.hope-health.org/volunteer.