Doing Good is Good for You

Doing Good is Good for You …

National Volunteer month takes place during the month of April. This month is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month. All of what I enjoy most about our community is richer because of what volunteers offer.

One of the more well-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. But what are the measurable impacts of volunteering? Well, it goes beyond what some volunteers realize.

Community service has significant economic and social effects. Simply by volunteering a few hours a month, you can have a huge impact with just a small investment of your time. Volunteer activities can include events such as park and street cleanups, local school projects, stocking food shelves at the Good Samaritan Center, helping with youth activities, and more. In observation of Earth Day on April 13th, Parks and Recreation is coordinating a Clean-Up Day.

But, did you know that Doing Good is also Good for You. A new study released finds that volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and emotional health. The study reveals four key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people’s health:

• Health: volunteers say that they feel better -physically, mentally and emotionally;
• Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels;
• Purpose: volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and to others;
• Engagement: volunteers are more informed health care consumers, and more engaged and involved in managing their health.

“Volunteering builds health outside traditional clinical settings by engaging people in activities that strengthen communities and personal health at the same time -a win-win for everyone.” The study also shows that volunteering is good for the volunteer’s employer:

• employers can expect lower health care costs and higher productivity from employees who volunteer;
• reducing employee stress contributes to higher productivity and levels of engagement;
• volunteering can develop employees’ work skills, which benefits employer and employee;
• volunteering helps build teamwork and time-management skills; fosters stronger relationships with colleagues; and supports professional networking;
• volunteer activities lead to stronger positive feelings toward an employer when volunteer programs are supported in the workplace. (visit http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SR to read the full Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study)

How important do you think it is to have the following in your community?

1. A range of volunteer activities to choose from
2. Volunteer training opportunities to help people perform better in their volunteer roles
3. Opportunities for older adults to participate in decision making bodies such as community councils and commissions
4. Opportunities for older adults to volunteer in city sponsored activities and programs
5. Easy to find information about local volunteer opportunities
6. Transportation to/from volunteer activities for those who need it

If you want to find opportunities to volunteer in Excelsior Springs complete the survey so we can help find an opportunity to match your interests and help us by answering the questions above.