It Pays to Volunteer

AndyB Blogger

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You’ve seen the news headlines. Bill Gates pledges to give away most of his fortune. Chance the Rapper donates $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. They’re heartwarming stories, but they might also make you question what you are doing to help.

 

Most of us can’t give a boatload of money away to a worthy cause. Even donating $100 can feel like a financial burden that causes you more stress than it does good.

 

Luckily, there’s a great way to save money and may reduce stress while giving back: volunteering.

 

Time is valuable.

But do we really act like it is? It’s easy to get caught up in a fast-paced world where nonstop communication, constant engagement, and 24/7 access are seen as normal steps towards a successful and happy life. But sometimes, we move so fast we forget to stop, look around, and make the kinds of meaningful connections that lead to real happiness.

 

According to Rodlescia Sneed, author of a Carnegie Mellon study on the effects of volunteerism and hypertension, “many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction”

 

Volunteering is a holistic process that helps you gain meaningful perspective and make connections that may reduce stress and make you healthier and happier.

 

That’s especially pertinent for retirees, who often gain lots free time at the expense of daily interpersonal relationships and human connection. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, States with higher volunteer rates have lower mortality rates. Maybe it shouldn’t be retirement age so much as volunteer age.

 

Getting Started 

So how can you get started volunteering? A great place to learn more about exactly where to go and whom to help is VolunteerMatch.org, which can match skills, preferences, and available times with places seeking volunteers, both in your area and via the Internet.

 

Where do you find your volunteer opportunities? Share some ideas below!

 

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