Volunteering your skills and time to help those in need is noble and may make a difference in the lives of many. Making a difference in even one life is impetus enough to get many people off the couch and into volunteering, but those who have never volunteered may be unaware of the personal benefits of helping others.
People who make connections with other people live longer, healthier lives than those who do not. The stronger the connection, the better the health – both physical and mental. Strong human bonds also improve emotional health and lead to happier lives.
A person can have many acquaintances and “friends” and be lonely. It is the strong, lasting friendships that mental health experts have found to be the solution that dissolves feelings of isolation and loneliness. We need each other.
We fear the unknown. We fear that which is different from us. We fear making fools of ourselves. Volunteering can help overcome these fears by making familiar the unfamiliar. Many people walk by homeless people on the streets. They dislike and even fear them because they are different from them, unfamiliar and therefore not trustworthy or worthy of their concern. The fact is, the homeless are simply unknown.
Any volunteer at a homeless shelter will tell you that the homeless are like you and me. They just don’t have a permanent source of income or a regular place of residence. They may also have physical and/or mental disabilities that have gone untreated because of lack of money or information. The volunteers have overcome their fears, made a difference in someone’s life and made lasting friendships with people they once feared.
Expanding the World
People from small towns, or even close-knit neighborhoods in large urban centers, who have never ventured out of their familiar environs, will never know or appreciate how diverse the world is because they have never experienced it. Volunteering can introduce them to a wide variety of people with different experiences than their own. The world of the volunteer has thus expanded, promoting growth and opening doors they never dreamed of.
Facing fears conquers them. Do not fear making a fool of yourself. If you fear public speaking as most of us do, become an advocate for something you believe in. Speak out as an advocate and you won’t fear the audience or make a fool of yourself. In this case, volunteering for something you believe in will make a profound difference in you and your cause of choice.
Volunteers make the world a better place while making them into better people.
Visit our Volunteer Page to view the variety of volunteer opportunities available.