Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering provides vital assistance to people in need. But the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. Giving of yourself doesn’t just make the world better – it makes you better. Studies have shown that volunteering improves your physical health, while also increasing your happiness and sense of well-being. It combats depression, reduces stress, provides a sense of purpose and keeps you mentally and/or physically stimulated.
Some of its other benefits include:
- Volunteer activities provide a sense of identity and satisfaction, especially if you no longer have a life-defining purpose like “parent” or “worker.”
- Helping others makes you happy. Being more physically or socially active creates a heightened sense of well-being. Some researchers believe that volunteers receive a neurochemical sense of reward as well.
- The feeling you receive by performing a volunteer activity and the distraction provided by the activity can reduce chronic pain symptoms.
- Teens who volunteer have a higher self-image and better grades. Partner with a teen in one of your volunteer activities to double the benefit.
- Volunteering helps you build social ties and develop new friendships which provides a buffer against loneliness and isolation.
Even individuals with chronic health conditions and disabilities can benefit from the act of volunteering. In fact, research has revealed many health conditions have shown improvement after volunteering. In today’s digital age, numerous online volunteer opportunities exist which allow you to help others from the comfort of your home. If social contact is important to you or if increased social contact is the reason you are volunteering, this option may not be the best fit for you.
Volunteering in Pacific Grove
Here is a brief list of some of the volunteer opportunities that exist in and around Pacific Grove:
- Christine Marie’s Star Riders, a therapeutic riding facility, has many volunteer opportunities. In fact, volunteers are the mainstay of their program. Anyone who loves children and horses is welcome. No previous experience is necessary.
- The “Change a Life: Teach an Adult to Read” program needs volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring to help adult learners read, write, speak and understand English better. Opportunities exist in Carmel Valley, Marina, Castroville, Seaside and many other locations.
- Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer to make a difference in the life of a child. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who stand up for the rights of children who have been removed due to parental neglect or abuse. They work to ensure the safety and well-being of children, representing the child’s best interests in courtrooms and other settings. Many CASA programs offer additional volunteer opportunities as well.
- Become a High School Equivalency (HSE) Tutor by helping adults in one-on-one or small group tutoring sessions. Help them prepare for the HSE by improving their basic literacy skills in the areas of reading and comprehension, writing, social studies, science or math.
- The Animal Friends Rescue Project is a nonprofit animal rescue organization located in Pacific Grove. AFRP rescues thousands of animals annually who do not stand a chance of survival in shelters. Many opportunities exist including foster care, animal transportation, adoption counselor, animal care, office work, laundry, fundraising, education, photography, special events, public relations and so much more. If you love animals, AFRP has a rewarding volunteer opportunity waiting for you.
- The AFRP (Animal Friends Rescue Project) Treasure Shop located in Pacific Grove is always looking for volunteers. All proceeds from the shop support AFRP’s rescue and adoption programs.
- Volunteer at Tailwaggers as a shop clerk or merchandise assistant. Tailwaggers is a benefit thrift shop raising finances for Animal Welfare Assistance Groups.
- Become a small business mentor and put your business skills to good use. By sharing your skills with a small business owner through MicroMentor, you help a small business grow, often creating new jobs. Mentors with business experience search online to find an entrepreneur to assist, then serve as a coach and trusted guide. The volunteer opportunity is flexible, allowing you to set the schedule and mentee’ expectations. All contact is virtual through email and phone calls. Skills most sought after include general legal, sales and marketing, bookkeeping and business planning.
These opportunities have just scratched the surface. Some were located through VolunteerMatch which listed more than 100 other volunteer opportunities around Pacific Grove. With a little digging, you will find many kinds of volunteer activities. Opportunities to make a difference are all around us!
Here are a few more organizations that are always looking for volunteers:
- Local animal shelters and rescue organizations
- Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue at the SPCA for Monterey County in Salinas
- SPCA Stables Horse Boarding and Retirement Care in Salinas
- Food pantries
- Meals on Wheels
- Elementary and High Schools
- Senior centers
- Hospice organizations
- Habitat for Humanity, at a build or in one of their ReStores
- Girl and Boy Scout programs
- Crisis Counseling
As you can see, there is a little something for everyone when it comes to volunteer activities.
With all the wonderful benefits of volunteerism, plus all the organizations who need your help, it’s time to pick one or more of the many opportunities available. Taking your own skills, interests and goals into consideration, then finding an opportunity that matches them is more likely to be fun and fulfilling. But it never hurts to venture out and learn something new! Remember, the most valuable skills for any volunteer are a positive attitude, compassion, a willingness to do whatever is needed and an open heart and mind.
A Caring Retirement Community in California
Forest Hill knows a thing or two about helping others. In fact, one of our main goals is to help others live an exceptional independent life. Our caring staff is always ready to extend a helping hand, enabling you to live the life you deserve. Contact us to find out more about your retirement options in Pacific Grove.