Donating some of your time and energy to an individual, cause or community organization that will benefit from your help is a generous and selfless commitment.
Giving back to your community could even be good for you!
Volunteers enhance others lives
Volunteers make a valuable economic and social contribution to communities. For not-for-profit organisations, having people willing to help out unconditionally, means freeing up hard earned funding and resources to be allocated where they can make the most positive impact.
For working families, or ageing family members, volunteering time to care for others can transform the lives of those you are helping for a better future.
According to the latest data available on volunteering from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), nearly one in three adults participated in unpaid, volunteer work (in 2014). At the same time, Australians are living longer, healthier lives well into their retirement years. This means that there is a growing population of active, healthy community members with time, resource and energy to dedicate to help out others. Helping out with looking after grandchildren is an example of how our big hearted seniors are contributing positively to our communities now, and in the future.
Volunteering is good for you too
Volunteering takes many forms, from looking after family members to committing time to formal volunteering opportunities.
The generosity invested in giving your time, energy and knowledge to help others will benefit your physical, social and mental health in return.
Volunteering can extend and enhance your social networks
Retiring from formal employment commitments can mean adjusting from interacting with a workplace full of people every day, to getting used to smaller, more local social networking.
Formal volunteering can extend these social networks. The experiences you gain in your volunteer contributions can enhance your social interactions. Volunteering builds on your life stories, enriching your conversations and enhancing your sense of self-worth and identity.
Volunteering keeps your mind and body active
Volunteering is a rewarding and enjoyable commitment. The range of tasks available offer opportunities to learn new skills and stay active, physically and mentally.
On page 10 of its 2015 information sheet – Key facts and statistics about volunteering in Australia – Volunteering Australia has listed facts linking volunteering and happiness, including this:
“A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activities.”
Is it time to consider volunteering?
Volunteering is rewarding
By giving of yourself, you are providing a solution for an individual, community or organisation. Being part of a solution means you have a genuine sense of purpose. Feeling a strong sense of purpose is rewarding in itself.
Start the New Year as a volunteer
Here are some online resources to help you explore the diverse volunteer opportunities available:
Alternatively, reach out to your Local Council to explore volunteering opportunities in your local area.
This article first appeared on www.retirement-communities.com.au the blog for Retirement Communities Australia a leading manager of Retirement Villages in Melbourne.