Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer
John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This sentiment is still beating in the heart of America, with thousands of people volunteering to help their favorite charities and organizations every year. Though it may not make sense to some to work without the promise of pay, volunteering can bring a whole host of emotional and community benefits. Essentially, not only are you helping others, you’re also helping yourself.
Back in the day, volunteers were generally older people who had plenty of money and time. However, times have changed and even the busiest people are making the time to participate as a volunteer. Not only does it have benefits for your community at large, volunteering can actually also help you improve your social skills, make friends and even land you a job. By following your passion, volunteer opportunities can open up a whole new world for you.
1) Make new friends. With the age of the internet, lots of communication is now done virtually. While this is great for keeping up for your college roommate, it’s not so great for forming real-life relationships, which are important for your overall sense of well-being. Volunteering for something you are passionate about, such as animal care, community beautification or even just simple clean-up activities can put you in touch with other like-minded individuals, and an opportunity to make life-long friends.
2) Find new career options. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a career rut and dreaming of other options, volunteering can provide you with a way to “try out” new job situations without leaving your current employment. Look for things that genuinely interest you, then contact them and find out how you can get involved. There are always positions in every industry you might be intrigued by. Volunteering also helps you make those all-important business contacts should you wish to pursue it.
3) Improve your overall sense of well-being. It may come as surprise, but seeking out volunteer opportunities can actually be good for you. Social isolation is a common cause of depression, and volunteering for an issue you care about puts you in touch with people from all walks of life. There’s also “the happiness factor” that many people experience when they’ve put the time in for their favorite cause – that great feeling you get from knowing you’ve done something good. Finally, some volunteer jobs can actually get you physically active, which always has a positive effect on both mind and body.
4) Bring some fun into your life. Though it may look like a job, volunteering can also be a lot of fun. Not only will you meet new people, but you’ll also be involved in changing the world or supporting an issue you believe strongly in. For example, if you love animals, an afternoon helping puppies to socialize can be a dream day out. Those who love children can take underprivileged kids to the park, or even more fun adventures. The possibilities are, in fact, limitless.
5) Build character… and your resume. It’s no secret that employers love to see volunteering in potential candidates. Volunteering shows that you are willing to go the extra mile for what you believe in, and helps to build character and job skills. This is particularly true for the younger generation who may not have had time to build up a huge skill set. Creating your own opportunities and resume-builders go a long way to impressing the companies you’re aiming for.
Though volunteering is essentially about giving yourself and your time, many who do it would argue that you actually get more out of it than you ever put into it. Look for opportunities, charities and causes that you’re passionate about so you can stick with it. The longer you are involved, the more likely you are to walk away with “the happiness factor.”
Blogger Anthony Joseph offers this information to help bring awareness to the importance of volunteering. All For Good, a service of Points of Light, is a company who not only offers Community volunteer opportunities, but many other categories to volunteer for as well.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest/5832145281
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