At The Magdalen House, we provide women with the tools to transform their lives by achieving sobriety and sustaining recovery. As a part of our programming, women in our community learn the importance of service for their recovery, and their overall quality of life. Service doesn’t just revitalize the lives of alcoholic women; anyone can participate and enjoy the benefits of volunteering.
Here are four ways EVERYONE can experience an enhanced life by getting involved:
1. Reduces Stress
It’s no surprise that we’re all a little stressed- one look at our to-do list and many of us will throw in the towel before we even get started. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce stress- and one of those things just so happens to be putting away what you could be doing and instead doing what you want to do for others. Service, especially when volunteering with an organization that helps causes that you are passionate about, gives you a sense of purpose and direction that ultimately reduces stress.
2. Promotes Mental Health
Studies show that your body releases endorphins during positive social contact. These endorphins don’t come and go the minute you start and stop volunteering. The positivity you can discover while volunteering spills over into your personal life, helping relieve any irritability and discontent you may have.
This allows you to show up each and every day better for you, your family, and your community. You can also begin to see yourself in a better light, allowing your self-esteem to grow and making you more confident, creative, and motivated.
3. Creates Community
Whether you imagine “Creates Community” means you find your community or that you help build a community for others, the answer is yes. There is no better way to find and build a community that you, your family, and loved ones can benefit from than to volunteer.
The positive endorphins your body releases while volunteering makes you and the volunteers around you happier. You can feel more welcoming to socializing, which is also a natural stress reliever. Your part in helping an organization further its reach and mission creates a community that others in need can count on.
4. Learn New Skills
If you’re unemployed or looking to make a career change, volunteering may just be one of the best things to add in your schedule that will help you reach your goals. An Americorps study showed that volunteering is associated with a 27% higher odds of employment (Spera).
Volunteering is a FREE way to gain the career experience you are looking for whether or not you have a degree or the skillsets required for your dream job. Not only does adding volunteer work to your resume show experience in the areas you want to build your professional skills in, but it also shows that you are a compassionate and positive person that puts others before yourself.
If you aren’t convinced yet, is it because you wonder how a person can possibly balance all the responsibilities of life- keeping up with the house, work, family time, parenting- and still volunteer on top of all of that? It seems almost impossible to balance it all, and yet there are people that CHOOSE to pile even more on top of that.
As hard as it may be to believe, for many that small act of kindness they commit to is often what gives them the ability to maintain the rest of the chaos of their busy lives. For every hour of volunteering a person gives, there are an exponential number of benefits they get in return.
It is estimated that only 30% of Americans volunteer (Americorps). Help us flip that number on its head, to see entire communities taking the time to give back to others.
If you are looking for a way to improve your overall health and community, there is no better time than now to volunteer. Whether you can give one hour a week, a month, a year, there is a place at Maggie’s for you to volunteer.
AmeriCorps, Office of Research and Evaluation. (2021). Key Findings from the 2019 Current Population Survey: Civic Engagement and Volunteering Supplement. (by Laura Hanson Schlachter, Ph.D.). Washington, DC: Author.
Spera, C.; Ghertner, R.; Nerino, A.; DiTommaso, A. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, October 2015; vol. 44, 5: pp. 886-907.