Learn about volunteer roles and how they help at the nursery

     

Volunteering can help you make friends, learn new skills, advance your career, và even feel happier và healthier. Learn how to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.

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Why volunteer?

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time lớn volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help khổng lồ people in need, worthwhile causes, & the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to lớn find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.

Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to lớn involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need & improve your health và happiness.


Benefits of volunteering: 4 ways lớn feel healthier & happier


Volunteering connects you khổng lồ others.Volunteering is good for your mind và body.Volunteering can advance your career.Volunteering brings fun và fulfillment to lớn your life.

Benefit 1: Volunteering connects you lớn others

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

Make new friends & contacts

One of the best ways to lớn make new friends & strengthen existing relationships is to lớn commit khổng lồ a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way lớn meet new people, especially if you are new khổng lồ an area. It strengthens your ties to lớn the community & broadens your tư vấn network, exposing you to lớn people with common interests, neighborhood resources, và fun & fulfilling activities.

Increase your social và relationship skills

While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy & have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to lớn practice và 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 & make more friends và contacts.


Volunteering as a family

Children watch everything you do. By giving back lớn the community, you’ll show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference và how good it feels to help other people and animals & enact change. It’s also a valuable way for you to get lớn know organizations in the community & find resources & activities for your children và family.


Benefit 2: Volunteering is good for your mind & body

Volunteering provides many benefits to lớn both mental and physical health.

Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping & working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves bao tay better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood và reduce stress and anxiety.

Volunteering combats depression. Volunteering keeps you in regular tương tác with others and helps you develop a solid tư vấn system, which in turn protects you against depression.

Volunteering makes you happy. By measuring hormones và brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired khổng lồ give khổng lồ others. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others & the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride và identity. & the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are khổng lồ have a positive view of your life & future goals.

Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning và direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to lớn your life.

Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier khổng lồ cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to lớn develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain và reduce the risk of heart disease.


I have limited mobility—can I still volunteer?

People with disabilities or chronic health conditions can still benefit greatly from volunteering. In fact, research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing & vision loss to lớn heart disease, diabetes or digestive disorders all show improvement after volunteering.

Whether due to a disability, a lack of transportation, or time constraints, many people choose khổng lồ volunteer their time via phone or computer. In today’s digital age, many organizations need help with writing, graphic design, email, và other web-based tasks. Some organizations may require you khổng lồ attend an initial training session or periodical meetings while others can be conducted completely remotely. In any volunteer situation, make sure that you are getting enough social contact, and that the organization is available to support you should you have questions.

Benefit 3: Volunteering can advance your career

If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest và meet people in the field. Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity lớn practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, & organization. You might feel more comfortable stretching your wings at work once you’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first.

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Teaching you valuable job skills

Just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills you learn are basic. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training. For example, you could become an experienced crisis counselor while volunteering for a women’s shelter or a knowledgeable art historian while donating your time as a museum docent.

Volunteering can also help you build upon skills you already have & use them khổng lồ benefit the greater community. For instance, if you hold a successful sales position, you can raise awareness for your favorite cause as a volunteer advocate, while further developing and improving your public speaking, communication, and kinh doanh skills.

Gaining career experience

Volunteering offers you the chance khổng lồ try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to lớn gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organization that does the kind of work you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in nursing, you could volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home.

Your volunteer work might also expose you to professional organizations or internships that could benefit your career.


When it comes khổng lồ volunteering, passion and positivity are the only requirements

While learning new skills can be beneficial to lớn many, it’s not a requirement for a fulfilling volunteer experience. Bear in mind that the most valuable assets you can bring to any volunteer effort are compassion, an mở cửa mind, a willingness to lớn pitch in wherever needed, and a positive attitude.


Benefit 4: Volunteering brings fun & fulfillment lớn your life

Volunteering is a fun & easy way khổng lồ explore your interests & passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful và interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work as well. For instance, if you have a desk job & long lớn spend time outdoors, you might consider volunteering lớn help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children’s camp.

How to lớn find the right volunteer opportunity

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is khổng lồ find a position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs. Ask yourself the following:

Would you like to work with adults, children, animals, or remotely from home?Do you prefer lớn work alone or as part of a team?Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer khổng lồ take a more visible role?How much time are you willing to commit?What skills can you bring lớn a volunteer job?What causes are important khổng lồ you?

Consider your goals & interests

You will have a richer & more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first take some time lớn identify your goals và interests. Think about why you want lớn volunteer. What would you enjoy doing? The opportunities that match both your goals và your interests are most likely khổng lồ be fun and fulfilling.


What are your volunteering goals?

To find a volunteer position that’s right for you, look for something that matches your personality, skills, and interests. Ask yourself if there is something specific you want to bởi or achieve as a volunteer.

For example, you might want to:

Improve your neighborhood.Meet new people with different outlooks or experiences.Try something new.Do something rewarding with your spare time.See new places or experience a different way of living.Try a new type of work that you might want to pursue as a full-time job.Expand on your interests & hobbies.

Consider several volunteer possibilities

Don’t limit yourself to just one organization or one specific type of job. Sometimes an opportunity looks great on paper, but the reality is quite different. Try lớn visit different organizations and get a feel for what they are lượt thích and if you click with other staff và volunteers.

Where to lớn find volunteer opportunities

Community theaters, museums, và monuments.Libraries or senior centers.Service organizations such as Lions Clubs or Rotary Clubs.Local animal shelters, rescue organizations, or wildlife centers.Youth organizations, sports teams, and after-school programs.Historical restorations, national parks, & conservation organizations.Places of worship such as churches or synagogues.Online directories and other resources (see below).

How much time should you volunteer?

Volunteering doesn’t have khổng lồ take over your life to lớn be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to lớn three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both you and your chosen cause. The important thing is khổng lồ volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable khổng lồ you. Volunteering should feel lượt thích a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.

Getting the most out of volunteering

You’re donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy & benefit from your volunteering. Lớn make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit:

Ask questions. You want lớn make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, & the time you want khổng lồ spend. Sample questions for your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to bởi vì if you have questions during your experience.

Make sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to lớn change your focus if needed.

Don’t be afraid lớn make a change. Don’t force yourself into a bad fit or feel compelled khổng lồ stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or look for a different organization that’s a better fit.

If volunteering overseas, choose carefully. Some volunteer programs abroad can cause more harm than good if they take much-needed paying jobs away from local workers. Look for volunteer opportunities with reputable organizations.

Enjoy yourself.

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The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization. If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Is it the tasks you’re performing? The people you’re working with? Or are you uncomfortable simply because the situation is new and unfamiliar? Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide how lớn proceed.

Where lớn find volunteer opportunities

VolunteerMatch– Find opportunities that match your volunteer interests, from location lớn type of work. (VolunteerMatch)

Idealist– Find volunteer opportunities in your local area or internationally. (Idealist)

National & Community Service– Federal organization offering volunteer positions across the U.S. (National Service)

Volunteer– Directory of environmental volunteer opportunities. (Volunteer.gov)

U.S. Peace Corps– Offers volunteer opportunities overseas & includes a50 Plusdivision. (Peace Corps)

American Red Cross– Volunteer in any of the Red Cross’s key service areas. (Red Cross)

Authors: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. & Lawrence Robinson

Last updated: October 2020


Simple Changes, Big Rewards – A Practical, Easy Guide for Healthy, Happy Living. (Harvard Medical School Special Health Report)

Why volunteer?– The benefits of volunteering, including benefits to lớn your career. (Timebank)

The Health Benefits of Volunteering: Recent Research (PDF)– Research on the benefits of volunteering, especially for seniors. (Corporation for National & Community Service)

The many ways volunteering is good for your heart– Includes resources for finding volunteer positions. (Harvard Health Publications)

10 Tips on Volunteering Wisely– Tips khổng lồ make the most of your volunteering experience. (Network for Good)