Why Volunteering is Good for the Soul

Photo: Volunteer Match.org

In this world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, it’s easy to get caught up in the “world is all about me” syndrome. Bragging about accomplishments, children, grandchildren has become the norm today particularly thanks to social media.

Many people need a little reminder that giving back or giving to others is just as important to a healthy lifestyle as fulfilling their own dreams, checking off bucket list items and bragging about them.

Volunteering is good for the soul. Giving to others can have a positive impact on your own well-being from relieving stress, depression and loneliness.

Volunteering can introduce you to a new circle of friends and be a boost to your own psychological well-being.

Where to begin?

Start Local

If you are a retiree or looking for ideas of how to add meaning to your life with extra hours you may have there are many local organizations looking for you.

Google “local volunteer opportunities (your town)” and you will find ideas like the local library, food pantry or bank, Meals-on-Wheels, senior centers and more.

Here are some to help you get started:

Volunteer Match

Volunteer Match is a volunteer networking website that connects volunteers with non-profit organizations in need to help. Volunteer opportunities can be found through the more than 117,000 non-profits and 150 network partners such as the National Red Cross, Easter Seals, Girl Scouts of the USA, National CASA and National MS Society.

Non-profits that help underprivileged find jobs

Many communities have non-profits organized to help under privileged people find jobs. Here are some examples around the country:

Wings for Success is the only program of its kind in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The free programs help provide clients with work-related apparel as well as advice and counsel to help them build the confidence needed to obtain and sustain employment. They set up clothing appointments, employment related workshops, and personalized employment guidance from volunteer career coaches.

Here are several others doing the same career support in other locations:

Jacobs Ladder, Charlotte NC 

Inner City Computer Stars Foundation, Chicago, IL

Jobs for Life, Raleigh NC

Senior Corps

Senior Corps taps the skills, talents, and experience of Americans age 55 and over to meet a wide range of community challenges. Programs include

volunteermatch.org healthyaging.net

Photo: Volunteer Match.org

Foster Grandparents who serve one-on-one as tutors and mentors to young people with exceptional needs.

Senior Companions who help homebound seniors and other adults maintain independence primarily in their own homes.

RSVP volunteers who conduct safety patrols, renovate homes, protect the environment, tutor and mentor youth, respond to natural disasters, and provide other services.

USA.GOV

The United States Government website shares Federal agencies which provide opportunities for volunteering.

Serve.gov

Sign up to volunteer and create projects. Tool kits are available to help develop your ideas into projects.

PeaceCorps.gov

Volunteer abroad. Work within communities to improve education, health, the environment, and more.

CitizenCorps.gov

Get training in first aid and emergency skills. Volunteer to support local emergency responders and disaster relief efforts.

NationalService.gov

Offers grants for service and volunteering. Programs include the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Social Innovation Fund.

Volunteer.gov

Volunteer in American’s public lands, including our national parks.

Volunteer.VA.gov

Volunteer at a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in your area.

Federal Election Volunteers

Become a Poll Worker. Help election officials in your state run the polling locations.

Earth Team Volunteers

Work to improve soil and air quality on private lands. Conserve water and enhance wildlife habitat on private lands.

What are you waiting for? Not only do you have the opportunity to help others, you will be helping yourself with the satisfaction of making someone else’s life better through the gift of your time.

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