6 ways volunteering will change your life

By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications

On Sept. 27 from 10am- 4pm in the concourse at New Westminster Campus, Douglas College will hold a Volunteer Fair to help students connect with non-profit organizations looking for help. Not sure volunteering is worth your time and effort? Here are six reasons why it definitely is worth every minute.

  1. You’ll be happier
    Research has shown that volunteering boosts happiness levels. The London School of Economics found that people who volunteered one to four times a month were seven to 16 percent happier (with those volunteering more often being happiest) than those who never volunteered. Volunteering increases self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction by giving you a sense accomplishment, pride and identity. It also combats depression by reducing social isolation and providing you with a support system.
  2. You can do the things you love
    Volunteering can help you make time for your hobbies and passions. For instance, if you love gardening, but live in an apartment, you could help plant a community garden, or if you like animals but aren’t able to have a pet, you could volunteer at a local animal shelter.
  3. You’ll get valuable experience
    Volunteering allows you to develop your social, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, project planning, time-management, technical and organizational skills. Volunteering can give you hands-on experience in your area of interest. Plus, it looks great on a resumé.
  4. You can explore career options
    By getting involved in a variety of organizations, you’ll experience different environments and situations.You may think you want to be a vet, but after volunteering with an animal shelter realize you aren’t a fan of working with animals. Or you might think you’re not a people person, but after volunteering at a seniors’ centre realize you enjoy working with people.
  5. You’ll build your network
    Whether it’s a social network, support network, or a professional one, you’ll grow it through volunteer work, especially if you find an organization you like and are able to extend the timeframe of your initial commitment. You can make new friends, meet people with common interests and those who are working in roles you could imagine yourself in one day and you’ll strengthen your ties to your community.
  6. You can give back
    Unpaid volunteers are often what holds a community together. By giving your time and talents freely, you make it possible for organizations to spend more money on the services they provide. Whether it’s directly, or indirectly, whether your love the role you take on or not, by volunteering you are making a positive difference in your community and the lives of those who live in it.

Are you convinced about volunteering yet? If so, be sure to stop by the New West concourse on Sept. 27 and check out the Volunteer Fair. And if you’re not convinced, consider stopping by anyway for a look – you never know what opportunity might catch your attention.

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