People of faith often look for ways to be a source of good in the world, and they seek experiences that bring themselves joy. That may even be why you joined your church. While the people with whom you worship probably partner with various groups around the city that provide assistance to those in need, there are benefits to branching out on your own to find additional ways to serve. Volunteering is a great opportunity to not only give back to your community but also enjoy some personal benefits as well.
Fortifying Community Resources
It's easy to find an organization that accepts volunteers. The best way to get started is to pick one that aligns with your passions. There are many places you can volunteer to help make your community a better place:
- Animal shelters
- Food banks
- Soup kitchens
- Nonprofit organizations
Many of these organizations depend heavily on volunteer support, and some of them would not be able to manage half the good things they do without it. By supplementing the work that staff members are doing, you help the organization's financial and human efforts go much farther.
Increasing Civic Knowledge
You can learn a lot about your city by volunteering. You discover the resources that are available so that you are equipped to direct those who come to your church with specific needs to groups that are better able to assist them. If you work with organizations that partner with local government, you can get an inside look at how civil services function. This knowledge can inform the way you vote and how you advocate for those whose voices aren't always heard. Finally, giving your time to organizations can help you learn more about yourself, including both your strengths and areas where you need growth.
Volunteer work helps you hone special skills that you may not have the opportunity to learn elsewhere. For example, when you volunteer to build houses with a group such as Habitat for Humanity, you may pick up tips on how to do some work around your own house. An additional benefit is that you have more experience to add to your resume or CV. Even if you don't volunteer with an organization that does work in your particular field, civic involvement of any kind often looks good to prospective employers.
There is evidence that helping other people increases your happiness. It can lower stress by broadening your focus to help others solve problems rather than just worrying about what's going on in your own life. If you feel isolated, getting involved in a group project or cause can take the edge off loneliness. As your mental health improves, your physical health is likely to do so, too. Ultimately, volunteering on a regular basis can boost your immunity, lower your blood pressure, and provide several other health benefits.
Meeting New People
One of the reasons that volunteering is so good for you is that it introduces you to people you would likely never meet otherwise. You can meet people with different backgrounds and perspectives and thus broaden your own worldview. Working with a team to accomplish a common goal builds camaraderie and helps you develop better communication and leadership skills. You never know – you may even meet the love of your life while spending your time helping others.
If you want to make a difference in the world, the best place to start is the community where you already live. Volunteering puts you in touch with the needs in your city and sparks ideas about how to best address them. Simply contact a group that is doing work that's important to you and see how you can help.