Say “risk-taking” and most of us probably think of parachuting from planes or climbing mountains. You might even think of negative risky behaviors, like abusing alcohol or other drugs. But did you know that volunteering is a risk, too? In fact, it’s one that offers real benefits to the volunteer as well as the community. Of course, organizations—including Compass Mark—benefit from the people who share their time with us. But volunteering also delivers big benefits to those who do it. Healthy risks, like volunteering, are activities that allow you to expand your boundaries, make new connections with others, and perhaps even learn new skills. How Volunteering Impacts Well-Being Research consistently shows that volunteerism improves emotional and physical wellness. A review of recent volunteering research found:
- Volunteers in general report better life satisfaction and better physical health than non-volunteers. Older volunteers seem to receive the highest level of benefits.
- Those who volunteered at least 100 hours every year were two-thirds as likely to report poor health, while they were only one-third as likely to die as non-volunteers.
- Volunteers had lower levels of depression than non-volunteers, even when controlling for other factors.
- People who struggled with chronic pain showed decreased levels of disability and depression when they became peer volunteers for others in chronic pain.
- Those who took on volunteer work after a heart attack experienced reduced feelings of despair and depression, factors linked to higher death rates in those who’d had heart attacks.
Volunteering—Not Just For Adults Adults aren’t the only ones who benefit from serving their communities. Teens benefit from donating their time as well. For example, adolescents who volunteer are less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, become pregnant, and engage in other risky behaviors. Ready to Take a Risk? What are you waiting for?! Take a healthy risk by sharing your time and talent with your neighbors. Compass Mark relies on people-power to achieve its mission to prevent substance abuse in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. From assembling materials to planning fundraisers to dealing with strategic concepts, we’d love to channel your specific talents into activities that have a direct impact on children, teens, and families in Lancaster and Lebanon. If you’d like to boost your own well-being and spend time with a team crazy enough to think it can change the world, fill out our online Volunteer Application or call 299-2831.