FRIDAY 5: Great Reasons to Volunteer

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Volunteering is not only valuable for the organization you are working for, it can be good for you, too! See our Friday 5 for insight into how volunteering can make you feel better today, while helping you build a better future for yourself and your community.

ONE: Personal Growth. Not only can volunteering boost your self-esteem, it can teach you job skills, build your network, and even earn you a job. “It’s really given me a sense of confidence that hey, I CAN make a difference,” says Skyanne Fischer, a teen who co-founded PAYA, a coalition of Pennsylvania young adult authors, bloggers, librarians, readers and other book lovers. “I’ve also been able to meet some really great authors and people because of all the relationships I’ve had to make to organize the PAYA festival.”

TWO: Culture. When you volunteer, you can learn a lot about the community you are working with. One way to really get an enriching experience is to go on a volunteer vacation. Often set in developing countries, these do-good vacays match individuals or families with specific opportunities where they can make a difference while getting to experience the culture and flavor of a country or region. By spending a week or more in Africa or Asia or South America doing things like building schools, working at an orphanage, supporting  HIV education, or providing elder care, you’ll not only get great experience, but you’ll get some serious and life-changing perspective by opening up the window to your world. Read more about how to plan a volunteer vacation here!

THREE: People Skills: Volunteering lets you practice and develop how you relate to others. You’ll learn how to communicate, problem-solve, and deal with conflict – skills that will benefit all areas of your life!

FOUR: Health: There’s a clear link between being healthy and being a volunteer – studies show that people who volunteer 100 hours per year are more likely to live longer and feel less depressed. Besides, volunteering is fun, which is good for your total well-being.

FIVE: Satisfaction. Volunteering can make you feel good about yourself and the difference you are making in the world. Just ask Miley Cyrus: “After I went on my first mission to Haiti with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, I felt so drawn to helping others hear for the first time and immediately wanted to look for another chance to go back and help again. I grew up around music with my brothers and sisters and couldn’t imagine what it would be like if we couldn’t hear the magic of music – it’s had such an influence on my life – so I want everyone to have the ability to enjoy sound as it was intended.

Check out more great reasons to volunteer here, then tell us: what other benefits can you gain for donating your time and energy?

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