The Good of Volunteering

Amy Suniga volunteering at the AFB Center on Vision Loss

It's a Job Anyone Can Do!

Wikipedia reports that, in general terms, "volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. But people also volunteer for their own skill development, to meet others, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and a variety of other reasons. Some are completely devoted to their cause, while others simply wish to do their bit where they can."

Volunteering can take on many forms and is performed by a wide range of people. Some volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work in, such as teaching or nursing or childcare. Others work on an as-needed basis or as part of a group. An example would be supporting your local symphony by selling or collecting tickets at the door, helping your church or synagogue set up an event, singing in a community choir, answering phones at a non profit or mentoring. Many hospitals also have great volunteer programs in place.

In researching for this article we found that regardless of age, ability, economic status, disability, or ethnicity, volunteering gives everyone who does it a sense of accomplishment that comes from helping others. And, did you know that volunteering also contributes to good health? A report that draws from the results of more than 30 studies on this topic says that "older people who volunteer enjoy longer lives, higher functional ability, and lower rates of depression and heart disease." What a great way to keep health care costs down!

What Matters to You? Check below to see if there are any areas of interest you would consider for volunteer work.

If the above doesn't spark an interest, consider these other ideas or come up with your own. The possibilities are endless.

  • Welcome a foreign exchange student into your home, especially if you know a second language
  • Be a mentor to an under privileged child
  • Become a Scout leader
  • Get your grandkids or other family involved
  • Work with military families who have deployed members
  • Help at a Ronald McDonald House or nearby hospital
  • Assist Organizations for the Blind or Visually Impaired
  • Be a greeter at church or civic events
  • Join groups to clean up and beautify your community

Keep in mind that besides making new friends and helping others, every time you volunteer, you are meeting new people who could potentially lead you to a new job.

Learn More and Find Volunteer Opportunities Where You Live

U.S. Government-Sponsored Volunteer Programs

Volunteer Jobs

Go ahead! Contact those organizations that involve issues you care about to find out more.

Personal Stories

  • Joel Tepperberg: From Carpentry to Cooking
    A personal story about Joel Tepperberg, who lost his vision in his late fifties to Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Find out about his journey from carpenter to cook and the help he received through vision rehabilitation services.

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