This article originally appeared in the April 2023 edition of Quorum.
You may have heard the famous quote that “as you grow older you will discover that you have two hands- one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Volunteering is one form of service that uses both hands- it first and foremost helps the community and at the same time it helps you.
Volunteering at its core is a selfless act that benefits your community and the individuals around you. The less talked about aspect of volunteering is that it can also have immeasurable personal benefits, some of which include the following:
Connecting with Others
If you are feeling isolated, lonely, or disconnected, especially after the pandemic: you are not alone! Volunteering in your local community is a great, and fun, way to meet new people who share common interests.
Developing your Social Skills
While some people are naturally outgoing and talkative, others may be shy or feel uncomfortable meeting new people. Volunteering is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and practice some interpersonal skills.
Diversifying your Social Circle
People of all ages, races, nationalities, religions, ethnicities, and backgrounds volunteer. By virtue of volunteering, you automatically expand your social network and often meet people who you may not have crossed paths with otherwise.
Providing Career Opportunities
Volunteering with different organizations allows you to meet people from different careers, businesses, and leadership positions, some of whom may help you down the line with job opportunities, internships, or mentorship.
Expanding your Skills
Each volunteering opportunity allows you to hone your existing skills and develop new ones. Whether it is making posters, collecting donations, mentoring youth, or helping make food, skills like teamwork, leadership, communication, problem solving, and organization often go hand in hand with volunteer work.
Improving your Mental Health
Volunteering can be an efficient way to combat feelings of stress and loneliness. In fact, studies have found that volunteering helps reduce anxiety and depression—this is in part because the brain produces dopamine when you volunteer.
Boosting your Confidence
Volunteering can help boost your self-confidence and increase your sense of worth. Since you are helping others, you have a natural sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Volunteering can also give you a sense of pride and belonging to the community.
Bolstering your Resume
Including volunteer work on your resume helps you stand out and show potential employers that you take initiative and dedicate your personal time to helping others. It also gives a more personal glimpse into who you are and what you care about.
Volunteering can be fun and a nice break from your day-to-day routine that can help energize and motivate you.
Read the full article in the April 2023 edition of Quorum
Nura Rafati is a community associations attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer. For more information, contact her at 301-657-0730 or [email protected]