5 Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering is beneficial for both you and others, since it offers physical and mental benefits for both the person helping and the person being helped. Research has shown that volunteering improves mental health and builds confidence while also providing opportunities to meet others who share like-minded goals and hobbies - the perfect chance to meet friends and significant others who also enjoy giving back to their community and to those in need. Need more motivation to sign up to volunteer? Here are just a few of the reasons to consider investing your time giving back to others.
1. Volunteer Work Looks Great on Your Resume
Did you know that volunteer work can be added to your resume?! It’s true. Just as with an internships, volunteer work that allows you to gain relevant and valuable experience can be added to your resume to let potential employers know you have worked to gain as much training and experience as possible. Examples of this might include volunteering as an office assistant for a nonprofit to gain administrative or accounting experience, volunteering to design fliers for a nonprofit to build your graphic design portfolio, and more.
In addition to demonstrating your professional experience, adding relevant volunteer experience to your resume also indicates your passion for helping others and trying to make the world a better place, both of which are valuable assets in the workplace.
2. Volunteer Work Looks Great on College Applications
Volunteer work also makes you stand out on college applications. If you’re in high school and preparing to attend college soon, consider looking at volunteer opportunities to gain more exposure to activities that can diversify your interests and experience. Consider this - if a college has one spot to fill and two applicants to choose from, one volunteer opportunity can make the difference between two applications that are otherwise identical.
Today, so many high school graduates go on to study in universities that the application process is becoming more and more competitive, so do whatever you can to give yourself an advantage. Even if your college application essay is well-written and you meet the minimum ACT or SAT requirements, others whose applications include mission trips, non-profit involvement, club and civic memberships, and other volunteer opportunities will stand out among the crowd.
3. Volunteer Work Benefits Elderly Adults
For elderly adults who may be struggling with loneliness or completing daily tasks without assistance, a friend or neighbor who is willing to volunteer their time can brighten their day. Offer to collect an elderly neighbor’s trash can or their mail or create casseroles and other meals that are easily reheated to save them time and energy. A few other ways to volunteer to assist seniors include:
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a program that offers pre-prepared meals for seniors around the country. For many seniors, programs like Meals on Wheels enable them to remain independent and live at home without the worry of how to prepare or afford meals. In the Little Rock area alone, CareLink’s Meals on Wheels community kitchen delivers more than 900 meals per day with the help of more than 250 volunteers. For many of these individuals, CareLink’s volunteers are the only faces they’ll encounter during their day. Our goal is to provide peace of mind for seniors who are struggling with food insecurity due to:
- Lack of Financial Resources
- Lack of Transportation
- Proximity to Grocery Stores or Food Centers
Along with a daily meal, our volunteers provide much needed socialization and a support system that allows elderly adults to remain independent, engaged, and connected. To learn more about our Meals on Wheels program or to volunteer, contact us or visit our website.
For elderly individuals living alone or in nursing homes, companionship is often a luxury many do not enjoy. Senior companions are able to provide support and companionship through various activities together, including:
- Reading Aloud
- Card Games or Board Games
- Watching TV
- Knitting, Sewing, or Crocheting
- Visiting Local Attractions
4. Volunteering Boosts Your Mood
Time and time again, research has proven there is a link between volunteering and positive mental health. On the one hand, individuals who volunteer have more opportunities for social engagement, which can help create a sense of community and belonging while also preventing loneliness and depression. There’s also evidence to suggest doing good works boosts serotonin production, the hormone responsible for increased happiness and positive mood. In addition, volunteering has been shown to lower blood pressure, stress level, and anxiety.
5. Volunteering is Great Exercise
From taking out the trash for your neighbors to walking your elderly neighbor’s dog, there are a variety of ways to volunteer and help others while getting plenty of exercise. Other opportunities to break a sweat while giving back include:
- Building Homes for Habitat for Humanity
- Volunteering at a Fitness Center for Special Needs or Senior Adults
- Volunteer as a Coach for a Youth Sports Team
- Serve Meals and Distribute Blankets to Homeless Individuals Around Your City
- Serve as a Docent at a Local Museum, Art Gallery, Zoo, or Other Attraction
- Volunteer as a Visitor at a Local Hospital or Nursing Home