It’s the beginning of a new year; a clean slate with a fresh new calendar just waiting to be filled with productive and meaningful activities. This year, instead of proclaiming all the things you aren’t going to do any more, choose something that you will do to help others and yourself at the same time.
Volunteering creates health benefits as well as social ones. Research presented by CNCS (Corporation for National Community Service) in a report titled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research,” has established “a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Comparisons of the health benefits of volunteering for different age groups have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, whether because they are more likely to face higher incidence of illness or because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing.”
Notice they said older volunteers. We are never too old to volunteer! I know many baby boomers who, now retired, are busier than they were when they were working and they are loving it!
Wondering how you get started? Here are some tips to consider:
Choose a cause that is important to you. Maybe you love animals? Volunteering at the pet shelter or as a docent at the Fort Wayne Zoo is a perfect opportunity to share your love.
Try it on for size. Before you commit to a regular schedule, offer to assist for a day or two to see what it is like. Or many organizations can use you just for one day for large scale projects such as United Way Day of Caring or the annual Waynedale Picnic and Easter Egg Hunt. Determine what works best with your schedule.
Is this something you want to do individually or as a family or with friends? Volunteering in a group can help keep you excited about volunteering. The Rescue Mission invites youth to help serve or consider Keeping America Beautiful by gathering a group of friends to assist the Waynedale Trails & Sidewalks Initiative during a cleanup day on the St. Mary’s Pathway or a local roadway.
It is great to volunteer in your community and Waynedale has no shortage of opportunities such as those listed above. But there are a plethora of additional deserving organizations in Fort Wayne that can also use your help. The American Red Cross, Allen County Public Library, Hospice organizations, The Embassy Theatre, local hospitals, the USO, local Assisted Living or Nursing homes, Junior Achievement, Blue Jacket, Community Harvest Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club, Matthew 25, The Literacy Alliance and local Food Banks. Both Homebound Meals and the Veteran’s Administration are also looking for drivers. You can go to Info@volunteerfortwayne.org to learn about more opportunities. Whatever your interest is, now is the time to get underway.
You may also visit www.waynedale.com/volunteer to sign up to receive an e-newsletter about local volunteer opportunities.
Happy New Year and Happy Volunteering!
This article is sponsored by Kingston Residence.