“The essence of life is to serve others and do good.” Aristotle
When you volunteer, you aren’t just doing something good for your community, you’re doing something good for yourself.
Volunteering is good for your brain
Studies show that volunteering promotes reasoning skills and problem-solving skills. Good skills to have! People who volunteer also improve their ability to work with others and are more willing to learn something new.
Volunteering is good for your grades
Another study found that people who volunteer improved their academic performance (GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills), leadership skills, and interpersonal skills.
Volunteering is good for your mental health
Volunteering helps your metal health, by relieving stress, anger, and anxiety. Helping others can have an effect on your overall psychological well-being. Working with animals has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Volunteers also report increased feelings of self-esteem!
Volunteering is good for your career
Volunteering lets you try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. Thinking about being a teacher? Volunteer at your local library’s after school tutoring program. Thinking about a career in health care? Volunteer at a hospital or nursing home. Want to be a vet tech? Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Like what you’re doing? Awesome! Keep doing it. Make a career out of it. But if you don’t, you can move on to something else.
Volunteering gives you skills that look great on a resume. If, after volunteering as a tutor, you decide you do want to be a teacher, think how great tutoring will look on your resume! And if you discover that you really don’t like kids, then you can use your experience to emphasis your transferable skills.
Volunteering is a great way to network. Your supervisor or co-workers at your volunteer site might be a great reference someday.
Volunteering impresses employers. A 2005 study showed that 73 percent of employers would choose a candidate who had volunteer experience over a candidate who did not have any experience.
Another study showed that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Finally, volunteers living in rural areas have a 55 percent higher likelihood of finding employment than non-volunteers.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to matter– to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” – Leo Rosten
Sources: Astin, A. W., Vogelgesang, L. J., Ikeda, E. K., & Yee, J. A. (2000). How service learning affects students. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, University of California.
Moore, C. W., & Allen, J. P. (1996). The effects of volunteering on the young volunteer. Journal of Primary Prevention, 17(2), 231-258.