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4 Extra Reasons to Volunteer

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People come from all walks of life, but one thing that is always needed and greatly appreciated is a volunteer. Thinking of volunteering your services to benefit others? You are not alone, many are seeking to do the same. These tips can help you maximize your volunteering experience.

Extra Time on Your Hands

Many volunteer because it can make a significant impact on their community, for the better. Another reason individuals give back is because they want to stay connected to their environment. But, volunteering also can help you in many ways, too. Here’s how:

1. Just because you may have a lot of extra time on your hands, and you are an introvert, does not mean that you can’t put it to good use by volunteering. If you are an introvert, you can volunteer your services whenever possible. Why? Volunteering can provide the opportunity to practice and expand ones social skills. After good social skills are developed, it will be much easier to branch out and meet new people; a skill many can use to their benefit. When was the last time you set out to make more friends or cultivate new contacts?

2. You may want to volunteer with an organization and test the waters, before taking the plunge. This can be extremely beneficial because volunteering can afford the chance to sample a new career trajectory, without making a long-term commitment.

What else can volunteering provide in terms of my career? It also is an excellent way to gain experience in a new field. If you want to become a veterinarian, you might consider volunteering your time at a zoo or animal park. Or perhaps you are passionate about ensuring children learn the fundamentals of education. This may be your ideal scenario, if so, you can volunteer at an after school program as a tutor. You may be surprised that some companies do in fact substitute experience for education. See, there.

3. Those who are prone to depression may find that volunteering helps. Volunteering can reduce the risk of depression, because a major risk factor for depression is social isolation. The part that volunteering plays in depression is that it forces you to maintain contact with others on a regular basis. It also can help you develop a rock-solid support system.

4. Along with the former, volunteering can help you stay physically healthy. While volunteering is recommended for greater health at any age, it has especially been proven to be increasingly beneficial in older adults. What’s more, studies have proven that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. This simple act of kindness also has been shown to decrease symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.

The Missing Link

Whether you plan to volunteer your time for an hour or 100 hours, it can be a mutual benefit for both you and the recipient of your volunteerism. Though everyone is on a different path in life, volunteering can be the common thread that unites us all. The hardest part may be to identify the organization you wish to donate your time to.

Web Links:

http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm;

http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf

-Kimberly Williams

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