We’ve all been told from a young age that sharing is a good thing so it should come as no surprise that sharing our time by volunteering can benefit us in many ways. Time is a product that many of us have a limited supply of, so sharing it gives a sense of fulfillment while offering something that all organizations are begging for. While volunteering is great for our resumes, it also does a ton for our community and our psyche. Because of this, volunteer programs are on the rise and our young people are taking part in this trend to help their community as well.
For the Community
The obvious winner for those who volunteer is the community that they are volunteering for. Volunteering your time offers resources for the community free of charge, works to help the business you are volunteering for, and sets an example in your community. For many programs that have volunteer opportunities, they are providing a service that isn’t for profit. Many of these institutions help animals, children, or those in need. They keep cities clean, help to rebuild, and raise awareness. Because these organizations aren’t creating a product for profit, volunteers are the legs keeping them standing. When you volunteer for organizations like this, you are really making a difference in the community that the organization is a part of.
The latest estimated value of volunteer time is $23.07 per hour. According to the Corporation for National Service, about 62.6 million Americans gave 7.7 billion hours of volunteer service worth $173 billion in 2013. These numbers show just how much time costs to the organizations receiving volunteers and how much the price of volunteering has become more profitable for organizations since 2001 when the value of volunteering was around $16 per hour. These numbers literally mean life or death for many organizations helping people across the world.
For the Soul
Many people have issues with the idea of volunteering for any reason that may benefit them. Since volunteering is essentially very selfless and altruistic in itself, it’s difficult to look at volunteering as a way to gain anything tangible for risk of sounding selfish. Realistically, volunteering is good for the soul. It allows you the chance to make a difference even if it feels small. It increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and combats depression. According to a study done by the London School of Economics called Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living, the more people volunteered, the happier they were and the higher their average income compared with those that don’t.
[bctt tweet="Volunteering is good for the soul. It allows you the chance to make a difference even if it feels small."]
Ultimately the message is that giving to others does positive things for your psyche and it is okay to seek out opportunities to help others in order to gain happiness within yourself. Volunteering time to your community is a circular thing. You volunteer time to help others and then you are profiting from others that are volunteering. Each person is giving, gaining, and living a happier life.
For the Youth
There are many popular volunteer organizations for small children all the way up to young adults. Young people are more likely than any other age group to have volunteered informally in the past years. Youth volunteer participation is higher now than it’s ever been. This is due to more programs being offered every year, many schools and jobs that offering preference to those that have volunteered, and many schools offering volunteer programs through their institutions. Because so many communities are offering perks for volunteering, young people are willing to take these volunteer opportunities to gain experience, more chances for scholarships, and the prospect of adding to their resumes.
For college students as well as recent graduates, volunteer programs with abroad options are becoming a popular way to gain experience, enhance their resumes, and change the world in some small way. Travel has always been a popular wish for the youthful and now there are more options than ever for those who wish to help out other communities and travel while doing it. For those that want to experience different cultures, the options for volunteering abroad have become a popular choice over the traditional ways of travel. This trend for our young people shows the example the generation previous had for us and the example we will leave for our children.
With so many perks associated with the act of volunteering it’s no wonder that the trend has been on the rise. Many people are sacrificing their time to organizations that make a difference in their communities. Without these volunteers, most of these non-profit organizations wouldn’t be able to exist, so for those that see the good in volunteering they are changing the lives for so many people around them including enhancing their own happiness.
Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She spends her time with her animals, exploring Idaho with her fiancé, and volunteering at Simply Cats.
Feature image: ResoluteSupportMedia