Many people volunteer because they say it makes them feel good. Well now there’s some evidence to show that it truly does improve people’s health and well-being to spend time giving back to a good cause.
UnitedHealth Group recently conducted a national study and found that the majority of participants reported feeling healthier after a volunteer experience. In addition to reports of improved self-esteem and sense of purpose in life:
- 94% of people who volunteered in the last twelve months reported that volunteering improved their mood;
- 78% of people who volunteered said that volunteering lowered their stress level;
- 80% of those who volunteered said they feel they have control over their health; and
- About 25% reported that their volunteer experience has helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off of their own problems.
It is also widely accepted that volunteering is a great way to meet new people and network, find out what the needs are in your local community and how you can make a difference, and can even improve employment prospects.
With all of the positive benefits, why wouldn’t someone want to find a cause they’re passionate about and give a little bit of their time by volunteering? Not only are you helping yourself to improved well-being, but you’ll also be helping people in need and a cause that will be grateful for your gift of time and talent.
If you’re interested in volunteering and getting involved in your community, United Way can assist you in finding something to match your interests and time availability. Opportunities range from reading to students in local schools to distributing food at the United Way Mobile Food Pantry, and from distributing toys to families in need at the holidays to gardening and harvesting vegetables at the Coogan Farm Giving Garden for the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center. You can also organize a food, school supplies, holiday toy, winter coat or Thanksgiving turkey drive.
Volunteer opportunities abound at the Food Center where volunteers are always needed to sort and pack food, check expiration dates, and pack and unpack the Mobile Food Pantry for its distributions.
United Way can also match you up with another local nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers. These projects may include cleaning, landscaping, yard work, office work, painting, minor construction, arts and crafts with children, and/or help with clients.
For more information on how you or your group can get involved and volunteer, visit www.uwsect.org/volunteer.