Volunteering is healthy!

Volunteering is good for you and your community.

Did you know that volunteers are happier and healthier than those who don’t volunteer? It’s true. While you help others and your community, you are also doing a good thing for your own wellbeing when you volunteer. Michigan State University Extension believes that volunteers play a critical role in making strong communities. Multiple research studies have found benefits to volunteering that include improved physical and mental health, higher rates of life satisfaction and they are more efficient. Over 65 million Americans volunteer annually and by doing so, they reduce their risk of mortality by 47 percent.

We can only speculate as to why volunteers experience these life-enhancing benefits. As someone who volunteers and has worked with volunteers, I know that making a difference in a life, for an organization or in a community is deeply satisfying. Volunteering often provides opportunities to make new contacts with others who share the same interests and positive relationships can lead to a better sense of self satisfaction.

How can you experience the positive effects of volunteering?

  1. Choose a cause or organization that you believe in.
  2. Find a program. You can search opportunities at Volunteer Match, your local Volunteer Center or United Way or Idealist.
  3. Call the organization to see if the volunteer opportunities available are a good fit for you. If the position involves working with youth or vulnerable popualtions, be prepared for a screening process. Many organizations will provideor require training. While this may take more of your time, it is a sign that the organization is invested in giving you and the client a great experience.

There are thousands of different kinds of volunteer positions. Keep looking until you find one that matches your interests and availability.

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