VOLUNTEERISM- Is Giving Better Than Receiving?

The willingness of volunteering your time or talent for something you believe in can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine.  Our community has many worthwhile opportunities ranging from charitable, educational, spiritual, humanitarian and environmental activities to name a few.  It is part of our nature as human beings to search for meaning and purpose in our lives.  When we feel good our thinking becomes more creative, flexible and open.  Volunteering often improves our sense of wellbeing which can enhance our feelings of hopefulness, happiness and self-worth.

Helping others has a healing power for us as well as the individuals and community we serve.  Volunteering can provide a healthy distraction from our own problems, help us to become more physically active and enhance our social connections to others.  The value of positive emotions may protect us or distract us from negative ones.  When our mood is improved so is our resilience to illness both physical and emotional.

Whether you are striving to improve your mood, your relationships or have higher satisfaction in life volunteering provides an opportunity to improve your skill development, competence and belief in your ability to succeed.

Things to consider before you sign up:

  1. Be thoughtful and realistic about the time you have available to give.  Volunteering is a         commitment and should not replace other priorities in your life.
  2. Carefully evaluate what needs or expectations you have regarding your volunteer experience.
  3. Consider your skills and strengths when choosing where to volunteer in order to have the best fit for you.

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21.  If you would like information regarding volunteer opportunities in our community you can contact United Way call center by dialing 2-1-1 in the Joplin area or (800)-427-4626.  You can also log on to www.211missouri.org.


Cynthia Campbell MSW, LCSW

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