People need people. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. When it comes to volunteering, some of us treat it like a punishment. More so when it is the only thing standing between you and your college application. However, it should not be used as a means to an end.
Whether you are at the thrift store in your neighborhood, caring for the elderly at the nursing home or helping the less privileged in a different continent. The very act of helping to better the lives of unfortunate individuals has plenty of benefits.
It is the act of helping people, a selfless act for that matter.
And it is not just about improving your GPA. There are options that are available all over even for professionals and retirees. We have healthcare and medical camps as well as welfare and rescue centers that could use people from various professions as volunteers.
The fact that it should be done as a selfless act does not mean it has no personal benefits. As a volunteer, you will gain quite a lot with the sole purpose of helping the community. This, however, does not mean you have to flood your social media accounts with these “selfless acts”. A picture once in a while is okay but do not overdo it.
Why is Volunteering Important and Why it Matters?
Helping the Less Fortunate
Not everyone is born into a rich or middle-class family. Neither is everyone born in a politically and economically stable country.
You can volunteer to some of the humanitarian organizations, which will give you the chance to help the less fortunate people in the world. Some deal with providing and building shelters while others deal with providing food and water among other amenities.
You also do not have to look far to help the less fortunate. Visit an orphanage in your neighborhood or that nursing home you see on your way home and help in one way or the other. Do a little shopping for them, maybe help with their laundry and general cleaning.
It is the little acts that matter.
Whether you want to build new social or professional relationships, volunteering is one of the best ways to do it. It gives you an opportunity to meet like-minded people and people from different walks of life. Through these interactions, you can create long term relationships, and gain valuable people skills.
To Enrich Yourself
Not only will you build a social and professional network it also enriches your life in more ways than you can imagine. For starters, volunteering exposes you to new life experiences. You get to see life from a different perspective when it comes to developmental and social by interacting with individuals from different walks of life.
If by any chance you get to volunteer outside of your country, this gives you an opportunity to travel. Traveling is one of the best ways to see the many and diverse cultures across the globe. For those curious enough about other cultures, you might pick a foreign tongue, too.
On more than one occasion, volunteers are able to get out of their comfort zone and boost their self-confidence. By taking the challenges offered by volunteer organizations such as leadership roles and initiatives, most volunteers have managed to improve their self-confidence.
For Career Options
The job market is quite competitive, and a degree or certificate alone is not enough to get you through the doors of employment. Building your career options gives you an opportunity to answer that burning question; why is it important for my career?
A volunteer position in your resume lets prospective employers know that you are willing to sacrifice your time to help others as well as take initiatives. The connections you build could lead to job opportunities depending on how you relate with people.
Most retirees struggle when it comes to choosing the right field. They do not know whether to stick to their professional skills or to pick up other activities. Make the wrong choice and your actions will not benefit anyone- not even yourself.
As a retiree, here are a few things you can do to make your selfless act meaningful and enjoyable.
Being unrealistic in any environment leads to frustration. This, too, applies to volunteer organizations. Volunteer organizations run on grants, which makes their grant tight to manage. This, of course, translates to a tight budget that can affect their supplies, equipment’s, staffing as well as space.
It is important for you, as a volunteer, to be realistic about these situations and not get worked up when things don’t go your way.
What gets you worked up?
One of the proven ways you can use to know how you want to help the community is by figuring out what gets you worked up. Is it the lack of enough staff at the nursing home or no food and staff at the soup kitchen?
Answer that question and there is your chance to volunteer and help rectify one of the things that drive you mad. It will give you some peace of mind knowing you have done your part as well as a sense of accomplishment.
The Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement:
- Preventing isolation and depression. Retirement means not getting up early so you don’t get to the office late. It means not having colleagues surrounding you all day long. When not approached carefully, retirement can lead to isolation and depression. As a retiree, by becoming a volunteer helps you prevent this by keeping you in an environment full of people. It does not matter whether you are engaging with toddlers or elderly people. A sense of belonging is all one needs to pull them out of the isolation and depression pit once in a while.
- Improving cognitive resilience. According to the National Institute of Aging, keeping your brain active is one of the key components of keeping a healthy brain. Other than eating healthy foods and being physically active, doing volunteer work during your retirement years will keep your mind active and you will stay connected to other people. This is how you get to improve your cognitive resilience and lower the risk of losing your memory.
- Share your knowledge and wisdom with the younger generation. With old age comes wisdom, and the young generation could use some bit of that wisdom. During your retirement, this gives you a chance to give back to the community by sharing your wisdom with the younger generation. Additionally, you will also learn something from them. Being old does not mean it is the end of learning. We are always learning, and being a volunteer provides a perfect opportunity.
- Leave a legacy. If you succeed to live to old age, leave a legacy in your community. One that will inspire those that come after you to be as good and giving as you. You should not forget, you can be an inspiration to those around you. From your children to your grandkids and everyone in the community. By helping other people at such an age will leave a legacy that can be emulated by hundreds of others.
When you help people selflessly, that is volunteering. Its benefits will help improve your social and professional life. It is also a great way to spend your retirement days. It is meaningful and fulfilling.