Top 5 reasons to volunteer in your community
Thanksgiving falls on Monday, October 14, 2019. Though the story of American Thanksgiving is widely shared throughout the media, the holiday’s origins in Canada pre-date the U.S. event at Plymouth Rock by over 40 years. The first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in 1578 as English explorer Martin Frobisher hosted a meal with his crew and the local indigenous population. The reason for the feast was to give thanks for a safe landing in what we now know as Canada. And thus, a tradition of focusing our attention at this time of year on the things for which we are most thankful was born.
It is this spirit of gratitude and recognition of good fortune that leads some to consider getting more involved in their community. If you are among those choosing to volunteer your time, at Thanksgiving and beyond, we have good news! Getting involved in the community has benefits that extend beyond just helping the organization where you choose to donate your time.
Benefits of community involvement
There are a lot of good reasons to volunteer in the community, but these five are near the top of the list:
- It reduces stress: Giving to others in the form of volunteering and community involvement can help to reduce stress. Older adults choosing to volunteer their time can reap the rewards of a sense of meaning and appreciation that, according to the AARP, can have a calming effect.
- It’s good for your health: Volunteering is good for the community, but it’s also good for your health. In addition to sharing the ways community involvement has been shown to improve mental health by allowing us to feel more socially connected, a recent Harvard Medical School article notes several ways that volunteering helps to improve our physical health as well. According to the article, the health benefits of community involvement include lower blood pressure and a longer life span.
- It helps to build professional experience: The adage “can’t get a job without experience; can’t get experience without a job” is a common refrain among new job candidates, and it holds true for those hoping for a career change. However, as mentioned on the Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) website, those hoping to broaden their skill set to improve their employment prospects can volunteer to gain valuable work experience – and give something back to the community at the same time.
- It provides networking opportunities: Volunteers have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals from all walks of life. While there is the obvious benefit of offering a chance to socialize, this unfettered access to community leaders also provides an “ear to the ground” for news about job openings and employment information. Volunteering can also provide a pool of references for future opportunities.
- It contributes to the economy: Approximately 43.6% of the Canadian population performs volunteer work in some capacity. Though volunteer hours are not paid, they contribute to the economy through the value of the services that are provided – to the tune of approximately $55.9 billion in 2017.
Volunteers add considerable value to their communities, but as we can see, those giving their time also get a return on their effort. With so many benefits to gain, any time of year is a wonderful time to explore opportunities to volunteer in your local community.
Home Trust employee volunteer support
For some who would like to give back to the community while enjoying the personal benefits of volunteering, there are simply not enough hours in the day. That’s why many companies that understand the value of volunteering offer incentives, like paid time off during business hours, to ensure their employees have time to get involved in community service projects.
Home Trust offers each of its employees one paid volunteer day per year, as well as team volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The result was over 900 hours dedicated to volunteer activities in 2018. Visit our Public Accountability Statement to learn more about our commitment to the communities where we live and work.
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