Roughly 25% of all Americans serve as community volunteers every year, and many others help-out their neighbors in other ways. Volunteers continue to fuel our country’s exceptionalism as they have for centuries. For the most part, people who volunteer don’t do it to benefit themselves. They willingly donate their time and talents because it helps fellow human beings and ultimately makes our world a better place. Not surprisingly, by volunteering to help others you may also receive many unexpected benefits in return, starting with these.
Fun Facts About Community Volunteers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most likely to volunteer. Here are some other fun facts about community volunteers:
- Volunteer services are worth an average of $24.14 per hour.
- Volunteers are nearly twice as likely to donate to a charitable organization than those who don’t volunteer.
- People who volunteer typically have a 27% higher chance of being employed.
- Nearly one-fourth of all volunteers are under the age of 24.
- On average, volunteers donate 50 hours per year helping others.
- Food preparation and distribution is the most common volunteer activity.
- Slightly more women volunteer than men, although the percentages are close.
How Helping Others Benefits You
The Greek philosopher Aristotle once wrote, “The essence of life is to serve others and do good.” Aristotle’s words still ring true, as most volunteers end up realizing these physical, mental and emotional benefits:
Boosts Community Pride
The Corporation for National and Community Service points out that serving others strengthens your community and expands your social network as a volunteer. You not only connect with those you’re assisting, but also cultivate new friendships with fellow volunteers.
Provides Socializing Opportunities
Sadly, many adults feel lonely and socially isolated, notably those over the age of 65. If you’re feeling socially disengaged, becoming a volunteer might just be the answer to turning your social life around. Researchers have found that social interaction leads to higher self-esteem, a lower risk for depression and anxiety, and a stronger immune system.
Sense of Purpose
Studies have found that volunteering oftentimes alleviates the symptoms of clinical depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and even Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). When someone with one of these disorders serves as a volunteer, it allows them to feel more connected to others- resulting in a higher sense of purpose.
Too many Americans live sedentary lifestyles. Volunteers typically stay busy walking around shelters, loading boxes at foodbanks or playing with energetic kids at the local “Y”. Doing all these physical activities ultimately benefits a volunteer’s coordination, reduces stress, promotes a better night’s sleep and boosts one’s sense of wellbeing. Being outdoors in the healthy sunshine also helps rejuvenate a volunteer’s body.
Some researchers link volunteering to a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the elderly. The belief is that when seniors volunteer, the resulting social interactions stimulate the release of brain chemicals that help protect it from damage.
Millennials are oftentimes the butt of jokes, but studies have found that they are some of the most giving, socially aware and civic-minded people around. Many young people who volunteer during high school and college later choose jobs that reflect those personal values. And most continue donating their time, money and talents well after they’re hired!
When listed on a resume, those volunteering experiences also leave an impression with potential employers, making it a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Volunteering Makes Sense!
When you freely donate your time and talents to those in need, it makes a real difference on a local, national or even global level. Your volunteering efforts not only make the world a better place, cultivating newfound friendships while keeping your mind and body healthier just makes sense at any age!
Become an RSVP Volunteer in Worcester Today!
If you currently live in or around Worcester, MA, and would like to become a community volunteer, contact Family Services of Central Massachusetts. At FCSM, we can help you cultivate the skills and talents that you’ve learned over the years, or show you how to develop new ones. Once you’ve joined our RSVP Volunteer Program, you’ll be exposed to opportunities to serve within your community, whether it’s working with those who are hungry, children, seniors, or veterans and active-duty military personnel.
So, if you’re volunteering for a good cause, a just cause, or just because, FCSM has the volunteer assistance, resources and connections to get you started! To learn more about FCSM today, please call us at: 1-800-297-9760 or visit: www.fscm.org now.