Written by: Mikell Roberts
Date: Friday, January 5, 2018
With the start of the New Year, we are all focusing on resolutions and how we can be our best selves this year. Whether you are working towards a new career, building new relationships or leading a healthy lifestyle, truthfully, setting goals like these and sticking to them is hard. What if I told you there was a way to work on ALL of these areas in your life, in addition to impacting your community and the lives of others?
The answer is volunteerism! Volunteering, often thought of as a selfless, giving act not only helps others but also benefits you. Social media refers to this as volunesia — that moment when you forget you are volunteering to help change the lives of others, because it is changing yours. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Below are 10 ways volunteering can benefit YOU all while you are serving others.
1. Learn and develop new skills: At Three Square, volunteers help in just about every area of our organization. Whether you are assisting in our Three Square Call Center and freshening up those customer service skills, or taking the lead in our Community Kitchen by setting up and training other volunteers on the task at hand, you are developing your professional skills.
2. Enhance your applications and resumes: Why not add all of the skills you develop while volunteering to your resume and/or college applications? Volunteering shows that you not only put into practice essential job skills, but also that you are someone who goes above and beyond to make time for helping others.
3. Improve your physical health: To be honest, very few people enjoy going to the gym even though it is essential for our health. If you have volunteered at Three Square before in our Community Kitchen or in our Volunteer Room, you can confirm that volunteering in these areas can sometimes get physical. Get some extra steps in on your Fitbit, work those biceps and help us pack food for those in need by devoting just two to three hours of your time.
4. Improve your mental health: Life is hard and at times we all need some uplifting and support with our mental health and well-being. There have been numerous research studies that prove how volunteering helps us to feel more connected and gives us more purpose, which in turn can help decrease stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
5. Live a longer life: According to the article "Helping Others Helps You to Live Longer" by Time.com, "A new review of the health effects of volunteering found that helping others on a regular basis—like serving food in a soup kitchen or reading to the blind—can reduce early mortality rates by 22 percent, compared to those who don't participate in such activities." The article also states that you cannot just volunteer once and expect to reap these benefits, "it takes regular sacrifice of time and effort to engage the sense of reward that comes from volunteering." Participants of this study volunteered at least an hour of work each month on a regular basis.
6. Boost your self-esteem and confidence: Volunteering really does give you a sense of purpose and confirms that you are indeed able to make a difference in the lives of others. Volunteering can also provide a sense of achievement helping to boost confidence.
Connect with Others
7. Develop interpersonal skills: Interpersonal skills are vital for all of us whether they are needed for work, school or just everyday life interactions. For anyone who fears social interactions, helping at a local non-profit provides a safe-zone to practice social skills and build new relationships in an authentic and natural way.
8. Make new friends: Six days a week, Three Square is grateful to have the help of volunteers from all over our community. From the start of my journey with Three Square, I have noticed that volunteering really does provide an interactive and collaborative environment that makes it easy to meet people. We have heard numerous stories about friendships that have blossomed through volunteer work. Not to mention, if you are single, it is a great way to meet someone with a heart for service.
9. Be a part of your community: In case you have not experienced it yet, it is true that there is an amazing community in Southern Nevada that has proven if we all come together anything is possible; that includes Three Square's mission of pursuing a hunger-free community. Be a part of something bigger than yourself and volunteer.
10. Have FUN: Last but not least, volunteering is FUN, especially at Three Square. We pride ourselves on giving every volunteer that comes through our door an impactful and positive experience. We turn up the music, work hard and have fun while doing it. The energy at Three Square is something that you will just have to experience yourself by coming in to get connected to our mission. We promise you will have fun doing it!
Are you ready to volunteer? Three Square needs your help, especially during January and February, as these tend to be our slowest months for volunteers. Whether you are looking for an ongoing volunteer opportunity or simply coming by for a morning session to help us pack meals for kids, we make it easy to get involved. For more information on volunteering at Three Square visit: threesquare.org/volunteer.