5 Reasons Volunteer Work is Worthwhile
Volunteering is something that many people consider doing. Everyone has causes that they feel passionate about. Volunteers make a difference to people of all ages, both directly and indirectly. There are several great reasons to volunteer.
Age of US Neglect Victims
People, especially children can never never too many role models or positive influences in their lives. There can be a number of reasons why children need role models.
Family situations are a big factor. Some children come from homes where there is only one parent present for one reason or another. Some live with a grandparent or other family member. Whatever the situation, childhood and adolescence are crucial times for children to discover their identity and develop self-esteem and confidence. Let's face it, parenting is difficult with two parents, so it's fair to say that there is even less time and often financial capability with only one parent present. The more exposure to outside positive influences, the more well-rounded a child is likely to become.
Neglect is a sad reality, but there were over 500,000 cases of child neglect in the United States from October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011. Neglected children are more likely to resort to criminal activity later in life. Having positive role models shows children that there are people who care and want to spend time with them. It increases self-esteem.
Mentors are needed for adults who have undergone traumatic events or are recovering or in rehab. These individuals are on the path to get back to a healthy lifestyle and need support. Even when good support is available through friends and family, sometimes neutral third party is more beneficial. Plus, one can never have too much support in a time of personal crisis.
Mentorship through volunteering also has a positive impact on children and adults with healthy family environments. Most children love their parents, but don't view them as the "coolest" people in the world. Children sometimes have interests their parents are not well-versed in. Mentorship allows them to be exposed to various activities, alternate ways of thinking, new ideas, personalities and lifestyles. The options are available and they can make their own choices. This helps create more realistic expectations of society.
Volunteers positively affect average adult members of the community every day. There are so many community organizations that accept volunteers. The Red Cross is always needing people to help at onsite and field locations. Community events are often organized by volunteers. Everyone is welcome to enjoy these events, but they would not take place if it were not for the volunteers.
Child Maltreatment Statistics
2) Makes You Feel Great
How many people love to feel great because they know they are helping someone? Sometimes you never know just how great of an impact you have on someone else's life. Often, what we do has a ripple effect. Individuals remember what someone else did for them and they continue to "pay it forward". It's amazing to think about what you may have ignited.
Positive feelings about what you have done can also have health benefits. Feeling good about what you have done promotes positive cognition or positive thinking. Positive thinking helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
The Power of Volunteering
3) Creates Opportunity
Volunteers and mentors create opportunities that may not have otherwise existed. It may be because the child does not already have a positive role model or it could be because their parents lack the ability to assist them in certain areas or have no desire to engage in the activities they are interested in. Maybe the parent feels unqualified, inadequate or helpless. Maybe the volunteer is also inadvertently touching their lives.
Life is a daily grind. Many individuals already feel stressed and anxious about their number of existing obligations. Others have schedule conflicts. Some don't like the responsibility of leadership or are afraid of being responsible for an adverse outcome. Whatever the reason, there will never be enough volunteers to satisfy the need. There is always room for improvement or more community activities.
From experience, I have found that if I am am willing to lead, others will volunteer to help. Sometimes people can't commit to leading an activity or group, but they can still help. That help is also very valuable. If everyone gives a little, it makes a huge difference.
4) Personal Growth and Development
Through mentorship and volunteering, one gains a tremendous amount of experience and education. Of course it is great for your resume, but that should not be a primary motivation. Exposure to different people and situations allows a person to reflect on their own needs and desires. We become more well-rounded and empathetic individuals. Exposure also allows one to understand how everything really does relate to everything else. Our choices and actions have a ripple effect and consequences. Exposure promotes education and, through education, we can strive to make better choices for ourselves and the world as a whole.
5) Builds Community
Communities are complex, comprised of people with differing needs, ideas and goals. Most are formed for a common purpose, but contain multifaceted individuals with a variety of needs and interests. One person cannot possibly lead every activity or organization they and their family are interested in.
When you find a group of people who share your interests, why not volunteer for that group or organization? Share with them your talents and make them feel great about what makes you all unique. People are attracted to positive people who make them feel good. Support each other on your journey.
In summation, volunteering is beneficial in so many ways. It promotes mentorship for those in need, makes you feel great, creates opportunity, builds personal growth and development and builds community. If you can't lead a group, contact a group or organization leader and find out how you can contribute. Your contribution matters, regardless of how big or small. Give what you have to give. You may have just the special skill or touch someone needs. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world".