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Volunteering can be the gift of a lifetime

Holidays might be the perfect time to explore volunteering

Author: Shelby Schroeder/Monday, December 15, 2014/Categories: Health, Lifelong learning, Philanthropy, Volunteering, Life after 50

What are your plans for the holidays? Are you worried about spending too much money? Are you worried about being alone? Maybe your family lives across the state, the country or the world? Many businesses give employees time off for the holiday season, regardless of if you celebrate any holidays during the winter months. Are you looking for something to fill the time?
 
Volunteering Hands Volunteering might just be the answer.
 
If you will be travelling, either to visit family or for work, and will have time off to explore your adopted city for the weekend, you could be a tourist through volunteerism. If you will be with family members who stress you out a bit, you could spend time together volunteering. Time off from work responsibilities can be a great opportunity to take advantage of your free time to volunteer.
 
There can be many barriers to productive volunteering. Finding the time, the ideal opportunity and a convenient location take some effort and planning. If you want to volunteer during a specific time period or at a specific location, you will need to make arrangements ahead of time, and factor in time to complete all necessary paperwork and training in advance.
 
It’s important to recognize that barriers to successful volunteering are far outnumbered by the benefits! In addition to the potential for making new friends and learning more about your community and your world, volunteering is a way to teach your friends and family about the value of service. And there's more.
  • You can save money.  Many opt to volunteer in lieu of making a financial donation. Current volunteer hourly rates are estimated at around $20+ per hour. If you volunteer for four hours, it’s like you made an $80+ donation. And if you bring your friends and family with you, you could donate a lot to your favorite organization without breaking your bank account. There is no cost to volunteer, other than your time.  And you can save money by volunteering rather than going to a paid event, going out for a meal or shopping.
  • Volunteering can help you find a job. This could be because you make new connections through networking, you learn new skills and you are showing your future employer that you are proactive and care about the community. It’s also a way to explore a new career path. You can learn new skills to put on your resume. Or you may learn you don’t like that career path and you can explore something else.
  • Volunteering improves your health. Research shows that it lowers depression rates and increases your life expectancy.
  • You can help someone. You know the saying, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world?" You never know the impact you may have in someone’s life – even if just for a few hours.
  • Appreciation events are fun! While this may not be why you volunteer in the first place, most organizations invite you to events where you can meet other people who are interested in the issues that matter most to you.
  • You can learn more about other cultures. Through virtual volunteering, it’s now possible to volunteer with organizations around the world! You can even make your own schedule working from home.
Visit these websites today to learn how you can volunteer during the holidays and all year.
 
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