This time of year, everyone reflects on their year past and takes stock of their lives, giving thanks for everything we have been blessed with a new home, a loving family, great friends, a great job – these are the kinds of things that we offer up gratitude for around the dinner table.
If you are lucky enough, and truly have something to offer, you may be able to demonstrate that gratitude on a whole new level by electing to give yourself the gift of connecting with your community is through volunteer programs.
There are a lot of excellent organizations that can use your help, both locally and around the world. But don’t think of volunteering merely as an opportunity to help others. Volunteering has a surprising amount of benefits that can improve your health, your wellbeing, a renewed sense of purpose, and even make you a stronger, more successful person in the business world.
Called “the happiness effect,” as the researchers at the London School of Economics have dubbed it, the impact of helping other people has been documented to improve our health. They found that being generous helps reducing symptoms of depression, provides mental stimulation which can help fight off diseases like dementia, reduces your overall stress levels, and fills you with the purposefulness that can change how you feel about yourself and your place in the world.
Volunteering is not a numbers game, but a strategic one. Volunteering does not have to mean a long-term commitment, and many find that exploring different volunteer opportunities is the best way to find your perfect match.
No matter which opportunity you choose to explore, if you decide to become a volunteer, the chances are good that by this time next year, you will have a whole lot more to be grateful for.
If you have been fortunate enough to be a success in the business world, then you have a lot to offer someone who is just starting out in the business community. Micro Mentor is a flexible, online mentorship program that pairs business professionals with small business owners to help guide them to create successful businesses that will thrive and provide job opportunities down the line.
Reaching out to those in need reaps positive benefits all on its own, but volunteering to help with the elderly in your community can be a life-changing experience. People who volunteer their time to talk with, read to, enjoy activities, and quality time with seniors reap the benefits of meaningful interaction with a community that has decades of wisdom and knowledge to offer.
Elder Helpers is an online program that pairs you with the elderly in need in your community based on your life experiences, overall goals, and time commitment.
Tucson Wildlife Center
The Tucson Wildlife Center is always busy caring for injured and abandoned animals that will eventually need to find their way back to the wild. Volunteers are needed for all areas of the Tucson Wildlife Center year-round, doing any number of things from answering phones to landscaping to bottle-feeding baby animals.
The Tucson Wildlife Center is an entirely volunteer-based organization, and if you are interested in helping protect and maintain natural habitats for animals and educating the public about how to live amongst the animals in a way that is mutually beneficial, they can use your help today.
Young Women in Digital
If you are a successful woman working in a digital career, Young Women in Digital needs you to volunteer your time and knowledge to help mentor and educate young women who are just beginning their careers or education in the digital arts.
Young Women in Digital is a networking group designed to empower women through mentorship, workshops, job opportunities, and outreach. Volunteers can connect to a mentee who matches their skill sets, or who just dreams of one day being a successful digital woman just like you.
Habitat for Humanity is a world-renowned volunteer organization that helps build communities, and relationships within those communities, one home at a time. If you’re worried about your skills with a hammer, don’t fret – Habitat for Humanity is not just looking for construction volunteers.
A large part of the Habitat for Humanity model of success relies on community members who are responsible homeowners who are willing and able to teach first-time homeowners receiving their Habitat home how to maintain their home’s finances, develop budgets, and care for their new home while becoming a part of their surrounding community.
Local volunteer organizations rely on help from people like you all year long and not just around the holidays. If you find an organization that is a good match, be sure that you don’t forget how important it is to regularly volunteer throughout the whole year, or look for opportunities to help build the Tucson community into a stronger, more united one.