Can volunteering help you live a longer, healthier life? The research says YES.
This week, the YMCA is celebrating National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to recognize and thank those who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about. As a nonprofit, volunteer-led organization, the Y relies upon the efforts of thousands of citizens here in our community to help us carry out our mission of building healthier spirit, mind and body for all.
Most volunteers would be quick to tell you that they get back more than they give – and as it turns out, they might be right! A growing body of research shows volunteering offers a number of physical, mental and emotional benefits, including:
Decreasing the risk of depression
Providing a sense of purpose
Teaching valuable skills
Helping people stay physically and mentally active
Meeting people and establishing relationships
Little wonder, then, that an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t.
Here at the Y, there are many ways you can put your talents, skills and interests to work helping others. You can serve on a branch advisory board or committee … assist with planning or running a special event … share your Y story as part of our annual fundraising campaign … serve a meal or play games with residents at YMCA Supportive Housing Campus … coach a team or mentor youth … the list is almost endless! Contact your local YMCA branch for opportunities near you, and start realizing the many benefits that come when you give of yourself to others.