Dec 31, 2021
As we bid farewell to 2021, many of us review our lives and make New Year’s resolutions to improve ourselves. Most resolutions center around physical well-being and health (i.e., weight loss, regular exercise, eliminating bad habits, etc.) or financial improvement (i.e., paying off debt, saving more money, increasing income, etc.).
Volunteering is also a very popular New Year’s resolution and provides the dual benefit of helping the community and helping ourselves. The personal benefits of volunteering include:
- Renewing your sense of purpose
- Feeling connected to your community
- Meeting new friends
- Improving self esteem
- Learning new skills
- Increasing job prospects
- Adding fun to your life
- Reducing stress and increasing happiness
- Getting out of your comfort zone
There is evidence that suggests that volunteering increases happiness, lowers stress, and is beneficial to our overall health. An AmeriCorps report “The Health Benefits of Volunteering” stated “those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”
If you are interested in volunteering, there are a myriad of opportunities in every community. This is a role that truly has something for everyone. Organizations that offer volunteer opportunities include:
- Senior centers
- Political organizations
- Service clubs (Rotary, Lions, etc.)
- Museums and theaters
- Youth organizations (after school programs, sports groups, etc.)
- Places of worship
- Food pantries
- Family shelters
- Animal shelters/rescue organizations
- National parks or conservation groups
- Humanitarian organizations such as the American Red Cross
SeniorCare’s RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore, a grantee of AmeriCorps Seniors, offers a broad variety of volunteer opportunities. Some of the volunteer positions take very little special training—Meals on Wheels home delivered meal drivers, Medical Transportation drivers, in-home pet care and dog walking. Other positions require special training—Long Term Care Ombudsmen, SHINE Medicare Insurance Counselors, Red Cross Blood Drive Ambassadors, Tax Preparation Assistants, and Money Management bill payers. These are not all of the volunteer opportunities available. The full list is simply too long for this article. All of these positions can be adapted to meet the scheduling needs of the volunteer—from an hour or two a month to several times a week. All provide critically needed services in our community.
Once you’ve decided that you want to volunteer, think about what makes you happy. Do you love playing with puppies or kittens? Do you enjoy making hand-crafted items? Do you anticipate the arrival of spring and the chance to plant new seedlings? Do you enjoy meeting new people? There are organizations that can utilize your skills! Find an agency whose mission inspires you and who needs your talents.
For more information about volunteer opportunities through the SeniorCare RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore, call 978-281-1750 or visit www.seniorcareinc.org/volunteer-rsvp.
Wishing you a safe and healthy 2022!