Volunteering is something near and dear to our hearts here at Rinehart-Walters-Danner Insurance. Our owners, partners and staff participate in numerous volunteering events each year. We take great pride in supporting and helping out in our community. And we encourage you to join us.
In addition to boosting your social well-being, volunteering can make you feel physically stronger, increase mental sharpness, aid in reducing stress and even help you live longer. Wow! Despite these proven positive effects, only 1 in 4 Americans regularly volunteer. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you’re curious about the specific benefits of volunteering or how to get started, read on.
Health Benefits of Volunteering
As previously mentioned, volunteering has proven health benefits. A few of those benefits include:
- Increased mental and physical activity – Participating in volunteer activities gives you the opportunity to move and think in different ways than you’re used to doing. Both at home or at work. And, there’s a good chance that you’ll be on the move while volunteering. This will increases your overall physical activity level, too.
- Reduced stress levels – Giving back to those in need is said to enhance one’s sense of belonging, meaning and appreciation. Those are all elements that can help reduce your stress levels.
- Increased social well-being – By going out and volunteering in your community, you’re broadening your social circle and forging new relationships. As well as giving back to those who are in need. All of these activities can increase your social well-being, a component that plays a large role in your overall health.
Volunteers may work full time, part time or be retired. Some may volunteer with one organization a few hours a week. Others with multiple organizations several hours a week. No matter what amount of time that is contributed, studies show that volunteers have an overall healthier, happier outlook on life.
How to Get Started
There are many organizations that can benefit from your volunteer time. A good place to start looking is within your community. Pick one that complements your talents, interests, schedule and physical abilities. When you’re thinking about what you’d like to do as a volunteer, it may be helpful to think about what’s motivating you. Some volunteers are motivated by the following:
- Helping others
- Learning about the community
- Meeting new and interesting people
- Working in a team environment
- Feeling like they made a difference
- Gaining valuable life experiences
- Acquiring new skills
Once you’ve determined what’s motivating you to volunteer, you’ll be able to narrow down your search for local volunteer programs. For example, if you enjoy helping others, it may be beneficial to try to volunteer at a hospital or clinic. If you want to learn more about your community, volunteer on a community council or committee.
How to Have a Successful Experience
Online listings or a newspaper are great options to identify volunteer programs. To ensure a successful outcome for both you and the volunteer program, ask yourself the following questions:
- When can I begin?
- What skills can I offer?
- What skills can I gain?
- How much time can I commit?
- What would I not want to do as a volunteer?
- How often do I want to participate?
- What community issue do I want to affect through my volunteer service?
- What group or population do I want to serve?
Making the decision to volunteer is greatly appreciated by those in need. A small task for you can make the world of difference to someone else. From one community member to another, we Thank You!