Volunteerism is an important family value of mine. From as early as I can remember, my Grandma and Mom have been avid about donating time and financial resources to their communities. There was an expectation that, if we had privilege, we should reinvest in our communities to help elevate the people who didn’t.
The benefits of volunteering are plentiful. Here are four reasons I will always make time to volunteer.
We are all searching for purpose in our lives.
My personal “purpose mission” is to leave the world in a better state than I found it. Caring about others is like dropping a pebble into a pond: the benefits to society ripple outwards with exponential impact.
To me, there is no greater feeling than when I am tapped into my humanity and uniting with fellow human beings over a cause that helps the collective group. Volunteering makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger than just myself. My boosted mood and happiness last for days.
We know a lack of social connection contributes to higher rates of anxiety and depression. That’s especially true in times like these.
On the flip side, studies show that a higher quality and quantity of social relationships are linked to a 50% better chance of longevity. We are hardwired to feel connected to others to survive!
In a polarizing world of social media, it can be easy to feel disconnected, and adopt an “us” versus “them” attitude about different groups of people. Volunteering is an amazing way to reconnect with your humanity and remember that we all share the human experiences of joy, pain, and a desire to belong.
Improved Quality of Life
Improved quality of life may extend to physical health as well. A study published by Carnegie Mellon University found that people who volunteered on a regular basis (200 hours per year) felt less stressed, and were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is linked to heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Volunteering saves lives, people!
Not only does volunteering look great on a resume, it gives you the opportunity to access new experiences and networking opportunities you may not otherwise get in your job. When you volunteer, you can try out different roles in an organization risk-free, which can help you further refine your own career goals.
Volunteering helps you develop new skills and gives you a competitive edge for that next job promotion. The opportunities are really endless when it comes to volunteering; think strategizing on a board, planning an event, learning about fundraising or operations, or even just practicing your writing, like me!
Author Bio: Tannis Price is a student at Adler University who is working to become a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She is the co-founder of local non-profit The Street Feet Society, which partners with community schools in teaching youth about homelessness and empowering them to mobilize their own student-run fundraisers to give back to the Downtown Eastside. Tannis is currently volunteering with Yoga Outreach where she is learning about trauma theory and how marginalized groups can learn to use their body as a resource through yogic practices. She is also writing some blog posts for us!