Originating in 1600, the word volunteer initially referred to someone serving in the military.
Today thousands of charitable and social service organizations are dependent upon the kindness of strangers to see their civic duty and offer their services to provide money, time, creativity, talents, and care to those in need of support.
There is a variety of ways you can volunteer:
- On-site construction with your local chapter of Habitat for Humanities
- Collecting and managing inventory at a community food bank
- Stocking shelves, serving food, or providing administrative services at a homeless shelter
- Tutoring academically challenged students
- Tenderly caring for frightened animals at a humane shelter.
Altruism, civic pride, and social responsibility are all a part of volunteerism.
Every year about 62 million Americans donate their services to grateful organizations all over the country and most of those volunteers are grateful, too, because the great thing about volunteering is that you get back as much as you give.
The Latin root for the word volunteer means to "wish well." Indeed volunteerism is an act of kindness straight from the heart and its good for the heart. Yes, there are real health benefits to be derived from volunteering!
In general, volunteers live longer, happier lives. They dont suffer depression as much as the general population. Volunteering is a contact sport that keeps participants physically active and socially engaged.
And it can give you a new lease on life, rebooting your dreams and personal aspirations. For you retirees, volunteering provides the perfect opportunity to use your professional skills in a whole new way and for a far nobler cause than making a buck; and the sense of accomplishment youll gain will be good for your soul.
Mental acuity is often sharpened when you are grappling with someone elses problem and theyre looking to you to help solve it. And when youre coping with someone elses issues, you process your own stress more efficiently. Possible result: lower blood pressure.
Whether you clean up a blighted community or take a group of needy kids on a brisk walk through a local park--volunteering will get you moving and keep you going. The payoff: a slimmer waistline, improved overall health, and more energy. With their doctors approval, even people with moderate disabilities or health problems can find a way to give back to their communities.
Personal satisfaction, self-esteem, and better health. Maybe the old adage that its better to give than to receive is true after all.