The importance of volunteering

Volunteering offers vital help to people and worthwhile cause for those in need. The right cause can help you to make friends, connect with the community, learn new skills and even advance your career. Volunteering starts with just a few simple steps. Positions are available for students and any community member.

Doing work that is meaningful can be a relaxing but also an energizing escape from your day-to-day routine. It provides renewed creativity, motivation and vision that can carry over into personal and professional life. 

These activities may include cleaning up roadside trash, helping at an animal shelter, or spending time at a nursing home or in a classroom. Volunteering doesn’t have to involve any long-term commitment or take up a lot of time. 

Dedicating service hours to the community not only looks good on a resume, but it also benefits those around you, including yourself. When volunteering, you can learn many skills including social skills, problem-solving and time management. 

The social aspect of helping others can profoundly affect your overall well-being. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system. 

This is why it is a great way to meet new people, strengthen your ties to the community and broaden your network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources and fulfilling activities. 

In addition to these well known benefiting factors, there are also lesser known benefits when it comes to helping out. According to Helpguide.org, giving to others can help protect your mental and physical health, reduce stress, depression, keep you mentally stimulated and provide a sense of purpose. Researchers discovered that helping others delivers immense pleasure to the brain. 

Humans are hard-wired to give to and help others. The more you give, the happier you feel. Older volunteers tend to have better thinking skills, higher ability to cope with everyday tasks and are less likely to develop high blood pressure. Although there is not a class taught about volunteering, the choice to step up and contribute to the community is important. You can volunteer in person, but some choose to volunteer their time via computer or phone. With today’s technology, many organizations need help with writing, graphic design, email and other simple web-based tasks. 

To find a volunteer position that’s right for you, look for something that matches your personality, skills and interests. There are many opportunities around the Cedar Rapids area to volunteer. Websites, such as volunteer.gov have been created to help people find these opportunities in the community or around the country. 

If you are nervous about volunteering, simply ask your friends, family or those around you to give it a try. It never hurts to take part in something that benefits the community and those in need. 

Categories: Opinion, Staff Editorials