Using the start of a new year, I am pushing myself to try brand new volunteering experiences. I will be starting to volunteer regularly with the Maryland SPCA and the Pratt Library, along with one-time opportunities as they arise with other organizations. Why am I so eager to start the year off with plans to volunteer regularly? Read on to learn about the benefits of volunteering!
Whether you have recently moved to an area or are a longtime resident, volunteering gives you a way to find a new community to belong to. Volunteering with a nonprofit can give you a window into concerns you may have not known existed in your own community. Connecting to, supporting, and giving time to a cause you care about can give you a sense of purpose and a new sense of connection with others.
If you are hoping to gain some experience to use in a job search, volunteering can be a friendly, non-competitive way to start. Many of the organizations that Volunteer Maryland partners with offer their volunteers specialized experience that could boost a resume, or let you try out a possible new career option you’d been thinking about.
And from VolunteerMatch, research shows that there are even health benefits to volunteering!
- More than 68% of those who volunteered in the past year report that volunteering made them feel physically healthier.
- 29% of volunteers who suffer from a chronic condition say that volunteering has helped them manage their chronic illness.
- 89% of volunteers agree that volunteering improved their sense of well-being.
- 73% of volunteers feel that volunteering lowered their stress levels.
- 92% of volunteers agree that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life. [read the full report]
Start volunteering and see what you can learn about yourself. Our Volunteer Maryland Coordinators are exemplifying this as they choose where they will volunteer: facilitating financial literacy workshops, working with therapy horses, and starting a weekly game night at a shelter are among the volunteer activities they have picked up so far. Compared to them, I could be doing a lot more, and I take that as a challenge to push myself further in the coming months.