This April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month. It’s a time to thank those who offer their time and talents to helping make the world a better place.
According to AmeriCorps about 23 percent, or more than 60 million Americans volunteer in their communities. Zippia.com said 64 percent are female while 36 percent are male. The average age of volunteers in the U.S. is 43 but there are several important benefits to volunteering for older adults who are no longer working full time.
If you are looking for a way to be more active in your community, here are 6 benefits to volunteering:
Improves mental health.
Studies have shown volunteering lowers depression rates and makes people feel more confident and capable as people connect with others and find a greater sense of purpose. Volunteers who feel appreciated and that their work is valuable report feeling less stress and anxiety about the world as they contribute to making it better.
Volunteering provides new opportunities to meet people and create connections. It’s easier to make new friends when you have a common interest and a common cause you are working towards.
Increases physical activity.
Physical activity is good for the body and the mind and volunteering provides an opportunity for both. Whether you are getting out of the house to read to children, walk dogs or help pack boxes of food for the homeless, volunteering helps naturally increase your activity level which can add years to your life.
The Corporation for National and Community Service reported Americans over the age of 60 who volunteered had higher levels of well-being compared to those who did not.
Helps engage with other generations.
Many seniors report feeling disconnected from younger generations but volunteer work provides an excuse to get together and serve together. Age doesn’t matter when you find a shared passion for helping others.
Provides sense of purpose.
For years your purpose may have been working or caring for family. As you age, it’s important to keep a positive perspective about your place in the world. Providing assistance to those who need it can help give new purpose and new meaning to life.
Learn new skills.
It’s always important to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. Volunteering provides a great way to learn new skills or new ways of sharing skills you already have. If you always dreamed of a different career, volunteering may allow you to get a glimpse inside that career field or if you have a hobby or career you enjoy, you might enjoy it even more by sharing it with someone else.
No matter how you choose to help, the world is made brighter by your efforts! You can find plenty of opportunities to help in your community at justserve.org.
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