Benefits of Volunteering
Think about the last time you volunteered your time and talents to an important effort or cause. How did it make you feel? With the busy lives we lead, just the thought of volunteering might seem overwhelming, but it could be very beneficial. It’s easy to think about the positive impact that volunteers have on others, but we don’t often consider how rewarding it can be for a volunteer to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life. As we approach the summer solstice, put those many hours of daylight to good use.
Find Meaning and Purpose at Any Age: Sharing what you’ve learned with others can be a rewarding opportunity to give back. It’s also an opportunity not relegated to the young. For older adults, a study showed that they receive satisfaction in knowing they are helping others and that sharing their own personal stories is therapeutic.
Experience Improved Health and Well-being: Many people who volunteer say that helping others gives them a good feeling inside, something that researchers call a “helpers high”. There seems to be an actual physical sensation that occurs when people help others that makes them experience greater energy and strength, less depression and increased feelings of self-worth. Another survey of a large group of older adults showed that while those who received social support did not experience a marked improvement in health, those who gave support to others had lower mortality rates.
Make New Friends and Improve Your Mind: Volunteering provides an opportunity for people to increase their social engagement as well as their brain power. A study conducted by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center showed that there was a link between higher levels of social connections and participation in social activities with better cognitive function.
Learn New Skills: It’s never too late to learn a new skill or develop a new hobby. Volunteering can open the door to new learning opportunities that you may have not previously considered or thought you couldn’t accomplish.
Know That You Can Make a Powerful Difference: Regardless of your age or situation, you can also have a positive influence in someone’s life. The simple act of visiting with a resident in a retirement home or dementia care facility, holding their hand or offering a listening ear may seem like a small thing, but is quite powerful because that simple act of caring brings them immeasurable comfort, joy and encouragement.
In addition, volunteering not only provides us with the opportunity to get involved in a cause that we are passionate about, but also provides the chance to look beyond our own circumstances and appreciate what others are experiencing. The difference that you’ll make in someone else’s life will make an even bigger difference in yours.
Volunteers in Sedona help make events possible such as the Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona Arts Festival, RunSedona Event, Sedona WineFest, and many more. Volunteers also help keep the area we love clean and beautiful by volunteering for Keep Sedona Beautiful and help people find their way around town by volunteering with the City of Sedona Volunteer Park Rangers.
Other great groups not to be overlooked are volunteers that help people with the Verde Valley Caregivers and Meals on Wheels. They provide meals, transportation, friendly visits, phone calls, run errands, help people pick up prescriptions and more. The Sedona Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society of Sedona, Yavapai Food Council, Sedona Food Bank, Sedona Heritage Museum and the Sedona Library.
One thing is for sure, volunteers abound in our great community and you can see them around every corner, at local events, places of business and meetings. There are so many wonderful volunteer groups in Sedona. Volunteers in Sedona truly offer themselves willingly and many times go unnoticed but who, by their efforts, make our community culturally fuller, and socially conscious. In fact, many of our non-profit organizations would not exist without the dedication from volunteers and board members.
–Donna Retegan, Director of Visitor Services