22 May Give a little, Gain a lot! Live a longer and fuller life by volunteering!
Ever made that resolution to give time to your local animal shelter, Home Start project, Meals on Wheels, cleaning up your local park, or helping out with a children’s football team? Giving your time and energy improves lives including your own!
As TimeBank says: “Give a little, Gain a lot.”
Volunteering your time, skills, experience and energy to help others enriches other people’s lives. By giving service to others you can gain confidence in your own abilities, embrace your personal values in issues which are important to you and actively improve your life satisfaction. By being genuinely altruistic, you will feel better about yourself and improve your positive attitude towards your own goals and accomplishments.
Here are some proven benefits gained from volunteering:
Volunteering helps your physical health and helps you live longer In a study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in June 2013 in Psychology and Aging, adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. A 2012 study detailed in the journal Health Psychology found that participants who volunteered regularly with altruistic intentions lived longer. Research on the physical effects of volunteering have found increased health benefits and reduced symptoms from chronic pain and heart disease as the individual adds physical, social and intellectual activities to their life.
Members of the Advance Team have benefitted physically from their volunteering through exercise in football coaching and gardening, and participating in charity runs and cycling.
Volunteering helps you to gain skills and experience for your career A survey by TimeBank showed that 94% of employers believe employer volunteering has added to the skills of their workforce. Large companies such as Virgin, Microsoft and Dell have ensured that time is given for employees to volunteer drawing the activity to their company core values. You can gain extensive training and qualifications when volunteering for organisations such as the Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, the Lifeboat Association, or counselling at The Samaritans. The skills, qualifications and experience from outside your employment add individuality to you as a contributor to your team.
Members of the Advance team who volunteer say they learned invaluable employability skills in teamwork, leadership, counselling, legal issues, child welfare, grounds work and diplomacy!
Volunteering has positive psychological effects You can gain confidence and build self esteem in learning new skills, enabling others to achieve their goals and empower people to change their lives. Research published in JOOP 2011 (Vol 84 Issue 1 Eva J Mojza, Sabine Sonnetnag & Claudius Bornemann) shows that volunteering has positive psychological effects that bring benefits to the workplace by helping people learn new skills, meet new people and alleviate stress.
Advance Team members have gained great personal satisfaction from helping individuals and getting a “buzz” from meeting new people and children enabling them to fulfil their potential in life.
Set yourself Volunteering goals to improve your Life Balance Volunteering enables you to explore issues and interests which are important to you. By identifying your interests within your Life Plan, you can actively set goals to give positive time and gain achievement in issues and interests which are important to you personally. In turn, this will improve your own sense of achievement and broaden your life experiences.
To give you some ideas, here is a selection of the volunteering activities that the Advance Team do: Charity trustee, teaching sport to children and adults, school governor, sports club administration and pitch maintenance, PTA member, Home Start, village show organiser, theatre chaperone and Park Run organiser.
Make it your time to volunteer and help someone else improve their life today! Contact a charity or local organisation which interests you and is important to your values, or register your interest with TimeBank or Volunteering Matters and change your life for the better!