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How does volunteering really help?

Isabella Santoro

Photography Editor

Image via VectorMine

The idea of volunteering doesn’t always appeal to people. Volunteering has always been known as something that people have to do for school, parole or church. There are so many ways to volunteerism that aren’t boring and can help broaden your perspectives and help your community.

As someone who spent their entire middle and high school summers volunteering, I can say that it really makes you realize what you can do for your community. Simply by spending a few hours at a clothing drive, helping out children, etc. Not only does it make you feel great to help out others in need, it can also improve mental health and self esteem. According to a study by the University of Wales Lampeter, volunteering has shown to decrease mortality and to improve mental health, life satisfaction, social interaction and coping ability. Volunteering gives one a true sense of purpose because they feel like they are doing right for their community and helping in ways that are needed. When you volunteer, you can feel yourself doing something great and it gives one a sense of wanting to continue helping – so in turn they feel more of a positive outlook on life. I know I always looked forward to volunteering at my local library growing up because I was helping children and knew they always looked forward to seeing me. It creates a sense of purpose for people.

Volunteering helps to decrease stress as well. College students are universally stressed out all the time and wouldn’t it be great even for a few hours, to feel that stress wash off you by doing something for your community? Research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that volunteering reduces stress, which in turn helps with their physical health. When you volunteer, you’re able to take your mind off your own troubles and focus on doing good for your community or for someone else. It may take away nagging thoughts of how much work you’ve got to do when you get home, or all the papers you have to write. When you’re about to completely focus your time on doing your part for your community, it can help you find a healthy way to reduce stress that helps out multiple people at a time.

Volunteerism also looks amazing on resumes and in the professional field. If an employer sees that you’ve got a lot of experience helping out your community, they may be much more likely to consider hiring you. They will see that you care about your community and are able to multitask with volunteering, working and going to school at the same time. What better way to show you care about others than to volunteer?

Volunteering shows that you’re able to work well with others, which every employer looks for, especially in a setting where you have numerous coworkers and need to work in groups. You may be able to gain experience working with others that will come in handy when applying for jobs. Personally, having many different experiences volunteering helped me communicate well with customers and coworkers, and I was able to get my work done in a timely fashion.

One does not get paid when volunteering and this gives one a sense of how to care for others, not just material possessions and how much money they will make. Volunteering is quite like a paid job in the sense that one has responsibilities, has to show up on time, and has a schedule for themselves. At its core, volunteering is very selfish, as one is trying to fulfill something for themselves. However, it is human nature to be selfish and if volunteering makes one feel better about themselves, that’s great. In the end, it still turns out that you helped someone else, even if it was not only for their benefit. Even if you’re not a person who has a lot of time to spend volunteering, RIC has opportunities to volunteer during vacations and breaks, or you could even spend a few hours a week helping out your community.


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