Volunteer. It’s Good for Your Health.
We’ve long heard the health benefits that naturally flow out of sharing our time to help one another. Whether it’s helping a neighbor move that oddly shaped dresser, driving a friend to the airport, sharing an afternoon each week at the community center, serving meals to those in need, or lending your expertise to assist with GED classes at a local nonprofit. We can go on listing the countless ways you can volunteer your time to help others. Whether in small moments that arise in your day-to-day or in larger, ongoing efforts where you rearrange your schedule to make it part of your weekly routine, like yoga or book club. If you haven’t heard as much talk through the years about the endless health benefits in sharing your time, well we have a few for you below.
Lower your Blood Pressure and Increase your Self Esteem
Recently, NBC News penned an article on the health benefits of volunteering and found numerous studies linking how often you give back with:
- increased life satisfaction
- a stronger sense of purpose
- greater self-esteem
- an increased sense of increased personal control
- and slower cognitive decline over time.
Aside from simply wanting to help your fellow neighbors and community members and perhaps make a new friend along the way, those are certainly plenty of reasons to get involved where you live. They go on to cite a 2013 study, which analyzed data from 1,654 individuals in two national health and retirement studies focused on volunteerism. The study found that the individuals who reported volunteering at least 200 hours in the 12 months leading up to the survey showed a 40% lower risk of high blood pressure four years later than those that volunteered less.
Find a Volunteer Opportunity in Asheville That’s Right for You
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s volunteer center Hands On Asheville-Buncombe makes it easy for individuals like you to get involved in meaningful opportunities with local nonprofit organizations and schools. More than 200 opportunities are listed on their website each month, making it easy for volunteers to connect with a cause that fits their interests. In 2018 alone, Hands On helped 2,400 volunteers connect with 61 organizations, providing a total of 9,000 hours of volunteer service to support a variety of volunteer projects around Western North Carolina.
A few of the local nonprofits and schools offering opportunities to get involved include:
- Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
- Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club
- Green Opportunities
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC
- Ten Thousand Villages
If you’re considering incorporating volunteerism into your weekly or monthly calendar, it’s important to find activities that are of interest to you. The Hands On Asheville-Buncombe site allows you to separate volunteer opportunities out based on things you’re passionate about, so you can choose: Arts, Health and Wellness, Environment / Gardening, or Professional Skills-Based activities. Once you create a free account with Hands On, you can save those categories of interest and even begin to bookmark specific organizations you’re interested in volunteering with in order to receive an email each month with new projects, events and other needs from that organization. Then, you can pick and choose how you’re able to spend your time giving back to your community in the ways that feel best for you.
Creating your Volunteer Resume
In addition to having a lower risk of depression and high blood pressure and an increased sense of self, your volunteer hours add up to valuable accolades you can easily share on your resume. In fact, when you volunteer using the Hands On Asheville-Buncombe website, you’ll have access to a formatted and finished Volunteer Resume displaying the number of hours you spent in the community giving back as well as the organizations you shared your time with. A 2016 study found that 82% of interviewers said they prefer applicants with volunteer experience, and 92% acknowledge that volunteer activities help build leadership skills. Yet, the report says, only about one in three (32%) of job seekers mention unpaid community-service experience on their resumes. With competition for positions in so many industries across America these days, not including your volunteer hours is certainly a missed opportunity to show a potential employer your interests and skill-sets in working within your community.
Are you a nonprofit or school that is in need of volunteer support? Call our office and have your projects listed on the Hands On Asheville-Buncombe website!