Everyone has a gift to give. Your gifts are the skills and talents that come so naturally to you that you feel compelled to share them with others. Some people share their gifts in their home life or through paid employment, but many people find the most joy and fulfillment by sharing their gifts through volunteering.
Much research has been done trying to identify and quantitate the “helper’s high” described by many volunteers. This general positive feeling, however, is only one of many benefits that volunteers receive. According to a 2007 paper written by the Corporation for National and Community Service entitled The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, volunteering provides both social benefits and health benefits. Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who did not volunteer. While everyone who volunteers will reap benefits, studies have shown that adults over the age of 60 seem to receive the greatest benefits from sharing their gifts through volunteering. At a time in life when social roles change, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose.
Studies have also shown that promoting volunteerism within worksites can benefit employees and employers alike. A 2010 online survey conducted by UnitedHealthcare showed that workers who volunteer feel better about their employer and 81 percent felt that by volunteering through their employer, they had stronger relationships with colleagues. Findings like these are the reason that Blue Zones Project encourages worksites to support employee volunteer activities, which oftentimes benefits the community at-large.
Martin Luther King Jr. said “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” These words ring true for volunteerism. Even youth can lend a helping hand. Not only can they make a difference in the community, but having volunteer experience can help students receive scholarships and gain entrance into preferred higher education and professional opportunities.
Are you ready to improve your personal well-being through volunteerism? Blue Zones Project, in partnership with Volunteer Dodge and Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC), is hosting a Volunteer Expo on April 19 from 2-6 p.m. at the MPTC campus (700 Gould St., Beaver Dam) as part of National Volunteer Week. You are invited to attend this FREE event to connect with local non-profit and service organizations in Dodge County. Learn more about special presentations, workshops, and a full line up of activities taking place during National Volunteer Week at go.bluezonesproject.com/NationalVolunteerWeek.
To learn more about Blue Zones Project and to connect with us, visit our website www.dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com or follow us on Facebook. You can also call (920) 212-8511 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit VolunteerDodge.net.
Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, in collaboration with Sharecare®, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state.