Volunteering is Good for You

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Volunteering is Good For You

Giving your time to others improves your mental and physical health.

A  study conducted  by UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute in June 2013,  found that volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and emotional health.  The study was entitled, Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, and it  revealed that 76 percent of U.S. adults who volunteer report that volunteering has made them feel physically healthier, and 78 percent report that volunteering lowers their levels of stress, leading to feeling better than adults who do not volunteer.

The study concluded that there are four key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people’s health:

  • Health: volunteers say that they feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally;
  • Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels;
  • Purpose: volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and to others;
  • Engagement: volunteers are more informed health care consumers, and more engaged and involved in managing their health.

 

If you are interested in volunteering and not sure where to get started, here are 4 great opportunities in Northwest Arkansas:

Mentoring Kids: Through Big Brothers of America, adults “bigs” are paired with “littles” to become a positive influence in their life. Becoming a “big” can be one the most rewarding things you ever do in your life. Mentors get together with their “little” and share in everyday activities, like eating out, playing sports or attending sports events, going to movies, sightseeing, and just hanging out together. According to their website, “what mattered to the children were not the activities. It was the fact that they had a caring adult in their lives. Because they had someone to confide in and to look up to, they were, in turn, doing better in school and at home. And at a time in their lives when even small choices can change the course of their future, the Littles were also avoiding violence and substance abuse.”

For more information, visit http://www.bbbsnwa.org/site/c.dwKZLkO3LrKcF/b.6468615/k.E11A/Volunteer_to_start_something.htm

Helping the Home Bound: Some seniors in Washington and Benton counties are home bound and could use a little bit of help. Reaching out to this population could entail driving them to doctor appointments, yard work, meal delivery, or even just a phone call to say hello (because they are socially isolated). An agency that coordinates this type of volunteering is called Faith in Action and is offered through Washington Regional Medical Center. For more information, visit http://www.wregional.com/faithinaction

Feeding our Community: There are several organizations that focus on feeding the hungry. Get involved in Meals on Wheels http://www.mowaa.org  or NWA Food Bank www.nwafoodbank.org

Reaching out to Cancer Patients:  The Cancer Support Home is a home-like facility for cancer patients and their families. There are two convenient locations, one in Bentonville and the other in Fayetteville.  All services are offered at no cost. They always need volunteers! They have served the 4-county area of Northwest Arkansas with unique programs that provide: free health education, early detection cancer screenings, diagnostic testing, support groups, resource libraries, wig and prosthesis boutiques, overnight lodging, and financial assistance with prescription medications. For more information, visit http://www.wregional.com/cancer-support-home-services

Here are some other websites that will help you get started:

www.cobblestoneproject.org

www.volunteermatch.org

Source: http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/Newsroom/Articles/Feed/UnitedHealth%20Group/2013/0619HealthVolunteering.aspx

Photo credit: Michael Ignatieff / Foter / CC BY-ND

 



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