Vol­un­teer­ing and its ben­e­fits

Seaway News - - National Volunteer Week -

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to vol­un­teer. How­ever, the ben­e­fits of vol­un­teer­ing are enor­mous to you, your fam­ily, and your com­mu­nity. The right match can help you to re­duce stress, find friends, reach out to the com­mu­nity, learn new skills, and even ad­vance your ca­reer. Giv­ing to oth­ers can also help pro­tect your men­tal and phys­i­cal health.

One of the bet­ter-known ben­e­fits of vol­un­teer­ing is the im­pact on the com­mu­nity. Vol­un­teer­ing al­lows you to con­nect to your com­mu­nity and make it a bet­ter place. Even help­ing out with the small­est tasks can make a real dif­fer­ence to the lives of peo­ple, an­i­mals, and or­ga­ni­za­tions in need. And vol­un­teer­ing is a two-way street: It can ben­e­fit you and your fam­ily as much as the cause you choose to help. Ded­i­cat­ing your time as a vol­un­teer helps you make new friends, ex­pand your net­work, and boost your so­cial skills.

While some peo­ple are nat­u­rally out­go­ing, oth­ers are shy and have a hard time meet­ing new peo­ple. Vol­un­teer­ing gives you the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice and de­velop your so­cial skills, since you are meet­ing reg­u­larly with a group of peo­ple with com­mon in­ter­ests. Once you have mo­men­tum, it’s eas­ier to branch out and make more friends and con­tacts. If you’re con­sid­er­ing a new ca­reer, vol­un­teer­ing can help you get ex­pe­ri­ence in your area of in­ter­est and meet peo­ple in the field. Even if you’re not plan­ning on chang­ing ca­reers, vol­un­teer­ing gives you the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice im­por­tant skills used in the work­place, such as team­work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, prob­lem solv­ing, project plan­ning, task man­age­ment, and or­ga­ni­za­tion. You might feel more com­fort­able stretch­ing your wings at work once you’ve honed these skills in a vol­un­teer po­si­tion first. You will have a richer and more en­joy­able vol­un­teer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence if you first take some time to iden­tify your goals and in­ter­ests. Think about why you want to vol­un­teer. What would you en­joy do­ing? The op­por­tu­ni­ties that match both your goals and your in­ter­ests are most likely to be fun and ful­fill­ing.

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