Dedicating your time as a volunteer is a great way to make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills, especially if you are new to the area. While strengthening your ties to the community and exposing you to people with common interests and neighborhood resources, volunteering also provides a fun and easy way to explore your passions.
Did you know volunteering is also beneficial to your health? Doing good for others and the community provides a natural sense of accomplishment, and boosts your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
According to HelpGuide.org, volunteering can help protect your mental and physical health in these ways:
- Helps counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety
- Combats depression
- Makes you happy
- Increases self-confidence
- Provides a sense of purpose
- Helps you stay physically healthy- lower mortality rates, exercise more, easily cope with everyday tasks, less likely to develop high blood pressure and have better thinking skills
How can you get started?
World Volunteer Web provides tips for getting started. First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do.
For example, do I want…
…to improve the neighborhood where I live
…to meet people who are different than me
…to try something new
…to do something with my spare time
…to see a different way of life and new places
…to have a go at the type of work I might want as a full-time job
…to do more with my interests and hobbies
…to share something I’m good at
The best way to volunteer is to find a match with your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.
Here are some ideas to start volunteering if you want to help:
Food banks and Soup Kitchens
Johnston County Animal Protection League
Local Meals on Wheels programs
Partnership for Children of Johnston County
Keep Johnston County Beautiful
Smithfield Rescue Mission
Remember, volunteering benefits you, the people you help, and your entire community, so get out there and do some good!