A volunteer has the power to improve the community, while volunteering has the ability to improve the volunteer. A recent article in Gazette Review highlights four common health benefits of volunteering: (1) decreases depression, (2) helps you stay active, (3) makes you feel internally satisfied, and (4) decreases anxiety.
Just like exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, it is never too late to start volunteering to enhance your health. In fact, September is a great time to volunteer–September 11th, next Friday, is a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Organizations, companies, and individuals all over the nation will be participating in various activities to honor those who were directly affected by the attacks, but also thank the many emergency responders and volunteers who emerged as examples of exemplary citizens.
Some reasons people may have for not volunteering are: not knowing where to volunteer, not thinking they have any valuable skills to contribute, or not having time. However, online resources and websites make finding and signing up for volunteering easy. Locally, ActivateGood.org provides a search tool for residents of the Greater Triangle Area to filter volunteer opportunities by location, date, cause, and skills. AllForGood.org is a national example of a similar website. Both provide potential volunteers with the resources they need to get involved and the ability to sign up from the website. These web-based platforms allow users to easily connect with non-profits, schools, and other community organizations in need, thus reducing some of the barriers listed above: people now know who needs volunteers and where to go, people understand that their skills or abilities are needed, and people can specify times they are willing or able to volunteer.