Donating one’s time is a year-round activity enjoyed by numerous Americans across the country. There are thousands of organizations that utilize volunteers to make an impact around the world. Every year, these fine men and women who give themselves to their communities are celebrated in the month of April: National Volunteer Month! Here are a few reasons and resources on why you should consider volunteering.
Let’s be selfish for a minute: being a volunteer isn’t just about helping others. Numerous studies have linked the act of volunteering to various mental and physical health benefits. Whether you are donating a few moments of your time, or spending the majority of each day helping others, chances are that you will receive almost as much as you give to others – and that’s okay! Volunteering is the ultimate win-win situation.
If you’re new to volunteering, start small. Ensure that your lifestyle will allow you to maintain a schedule that benefits both you and the organization you’re sharing your time with. Check with local agencies and clubs to see what opportunities they offer. Community health centers, animal shelters, and schools are almost always looking for folks to help out. Give a little, see how it goes, and offer more time if you find yourself ready for it. What you don’t want to do is take on more than you can manage and end up letting both yourself and the organization down.
Tip: There are plenty of ways to gently wade into volunteering from home. See what works for you.
Are you a seasoned volunteer? There are global opportunities for people looking to give everything to a particular cause. Several organizations provide volunteers with the chance to donate a week or more of their time around the world assisting communities outside the United States. Whether you want to give generally, or utilize a particular skillset, you can find the right worldwide cause to support. While you may have heard of some popular organizations that send people across the globe, a little research may yield surprising results, like these global opportunities.
Tip: There’s no “wrong way” to volunteer. Just give what you can. Every bit helps.
Motivated to get out there and change the community (or the world)? This volunteer search engine can help get you started with lots of available opportunities. Take a look and see if there’s a fit for you. And of course, before taking part in any new activity, be sure to check with your doctor to ensure you’re ready for it.