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Volunteering: Good for Your Health and Your Community

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Volunteering is not only good for the soul and spirit, but also for your health! According to Volunteering in America, volunteering makes people healthier. Some physicians even claim that those who volunteer live longer than those who don’t.  Despite these health benefits, there are many reasons that individuals choose to volunteer.

According to Anthony Butler, Executive Director of St. John’s Bread and Life in Brooklyn, NY, volunteering is not just a form of socialization, but is a necessity. “Volunteering is important for two principle reasons. First there is the obvious benefit a volunteer brings to their volunteer work, be it a particular skill or the simple willingness to help and pitch in. Second, volunteering is important to the volunteer as it is a concrete expression of one’s obligation and need as a social being to connect with another. This meeting of mutual need and giving is fundamental to a society if it wishes to survive,” stated Butler.

Kyle Wurtzel, a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Indiana, also feels that volunteering is an obligation that people owe to their communities. Kyle is an active volunteer for the GlamourGals organization, for which he was awarded recognition by the Points of Light Institute. But he also volunteers yearly at a drive for Coats for Kids. He volunteers not just to give back to his immediate community but also because, “Certain individuals, like the children we are helping, do not have the means to help their situations and it is important to get them the things they need for basic survival.”

Another volunteer, Jacquelyn Porter, a junior at Indiana University, also volunteers to help those who can’t improve their situation. A volunteer at the Bloomington Animal Shelter near her campus, Jacquelyn notes that she is making an impact because “animals can’t represent themselves.  It’s nice to give them a voice so that they can find a home.”

Though it is obvious that volunteering helps out the greater community, there are also personal gains as well. People who volunteer are able to feel good about themselves, meet people with common interests, and it often motivates them to spend more time being active.

Katherine Ferreira, a student at The Art Institute for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management has been volunteering for the GlamourGals organization since she attended Thomas Edison High School. She notes that while giving back to her community, she is also giving back to herself. “I enjoy volunteering with GG because it gives me a great feeling to see that we can change the world. With a smile, a makeover, and a simple conversation, we have the power to change someone’s day and more then half of the time it has the power to make the volunteers better people.”  

So regardless of your individual reasons for volunteering, it is good for you and good for society!


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