Growing up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and living among folks that had very high educational skills, it was difficult for guys like me to keep up with the crowd and blend in. The one thing that was ingrained in me from a young age was that you did not have to be the smartest person to give back. Because l was always trying to assimilate the neighborhood, donating my time to a variety of causes came easy within and l never looked at it as though l was volunteering for a cause and be rewarded with a pat on the back.
The first time l was told that l was a volunteer was when l was thirteen and l was helping out with the local playground and putting in time with a person that worked for the city of Toronto as the trainer. He got me to supervise young kids at the playground and also supervised groups of kids on short trips for tournaments or sporting events. We would travel the city and play baseball against other playgrounds. This early responsibility was something that l never forgot and tried to implement in my everyday life.
Volunteering and performing community service provides essential help to underserved and struggling communities, but it can also provide benefits to the volunteers as well. Getting started with volunteering early on is a great way to help others, develop skills, and meet new people. First and foremost, you are helping others and that should make you feel good. You are making a difference in people’s lives and impacting the world in a possible way. You are also doing good for your own mental and physical health by being active, feeling happy about helping others, and feeling accomplished.
Giving back is a good way to help your community, but they also present individuals with a chance to learn about different kinds of jobs, explore many interests, and discover new possibilities. You can take an area of interest and give back time and in turn get some experience that may pay off at some point in the future. Volunteering and taking personal care of people provided experiences and positive feelings that ended up helping frame who l am as a person today. Many of my volunteering experiences gave me character, respect and humbleness that l still adhere to every day of my life.
Giving back of your time in many cases is much more valuable than writing a cheque and forgetting about what or who you have contributed to. Unselfish volunteering time to a cause that may be dear to you or could make a world of a difference to someone or some cause. Your time is very valuable especially as you get older, but giving back is not only the right thing to do, it’s the most rewarding feeling you will ever get.
Helping out or volunteering may not be the first thing people think of, when feeling down or lonely. But studies show that volunteering can have great benefits for a person’s mental health. Volunteering with people can ward off loneliness, depression and anger. The volunteer both focuses on others and strengthens their social network according to many health experts. Helping out on a scheduled basis gives structure when life is without motivation. Giving a caring hand has its own set of benefits, which can reduce stress and anxiety and improve models, giving you a sense of self-worth.
Volunteering forces you outside of your comfort zone. Whether it is meeting or working with new people or mastering a new skill, volunteering forces you to grow as a person. Life can leave us anxious, alienated, and overburdened. When you volunteer, you check your own problems at the door to help someone else with theirs. With increased social interaction, meaningful work, and a little exercise, your stress levels decrease. Whether you are preparing meals at a food bank or building houses, chances are that your volunteer work will push you to learn new skills. Learning keeps your mind young and improves critical thinking, which can increase your financial well-being.
Just a few minutes of your day offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
I would be remised if l do not take a moment and complement those volunteers that continue to give of their time and money and never want anyone to know who they are with no fanfare or recognition. These folks are a special group that need to be acknowledged and thanked for their generous time and efforts.
To you volunteers my sincere thank you… and to those thinking of volunteering…
Just do it!