People often think about volunteering in terms of giving one’s time to benefit others. But in fact, many volunteers find they benefit greatly themselves! The rewards of volunteering can be felt whether you have lots of free time you’re looking to fill, or just a couple hours carved out of a busy week. Let’s take a look at these benefits as well as where to look to get started.
Make a Difference: Depending on where you volunteer, you could be working to help individuals, communities, animals, the environment, or society as a whole. No matter where your efforts are focused, you know you are creating a valuable positive affect.
Social Connection: Volunteering can help you make new friends, meet new communities of people, or become closer with people you may already know. By bringing together people with shared values and a common goal to work towards, volunteering creates a strong community that you can be a part of.
Mind & Body: Volunteering can help you get up and active which is beneficial to your physical health. Additionally, volunteering can help you learn new skills, boost self-esteem, and find a sense of purpose which can all reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
With all those great benefits of volunteering, where should one look to find ways to start? There are lots of great opportunities but here are some common places to get involved:
- Community theaters, libraries, and museums
- Service organizations like Rotary Club or Lions Club
- Animal shelters
- Parks and conservation organizations
- Places of worship
More and more of the people in our DWM network are getting involved. Here’s one example:
A friend and client of DWM, Kathy Wiesner Buchalo, certainly does her fair share of volunteering in an area she loves: animals. She’s part of Rescue Pack, the Midwest's largest pet food bank serving rescues and residents in need across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Food is a question mark for 30M pets in the US. They're working to change that. In 2021, they provided 4.6M meals. They hope to achieve 5M+ in 2022. Their mission is simple: full bowls and bellies.
We too are animal lovers! Next week, DWM is proud to be a premier sponsor for their upcoming MEOW & BARK BINGO Rescue Pack Awareness event in Arlington Heights, IL. We’re excited to be part of this great cause! See BINGO for more info.
In conclusion, whether you are looking to make a difference, increase your social connections, or improve your mental and physical health, volunteering can provide these benefits while in turn you get to help others. We hope that if you were thinking about getting into volunteering but didn’t know where to start or needed a little encouragement, this can be your sign to start today! BINGO, indeed!