News Archive

The Importance of Volunteering

We have all been asked, from time to time, to assist others with their tasks. And, sometimes we are willing and able to help them, while at other times, we do not wish to cooperate with the request. This months topic deals with the advantages of volunteering and why it is important to do so when you are able.

Volunteering provides many benefits to everyone. For instance, by helping someone else, you are helping to satisfy some of the needs of the ones you help, you usually feel good about yourself for assisting those less-well-off than yourself, and you serve as an excellent role model for others who may observe or hear about your kindnesses to other people. Furthermore, you can even enhance your future and resume by participating in volunteer activities, as most employers and colleges consider these activities very valuable in developing useful experiences and good character traits in their future employees or students.

When someone asks for your help, or you just simply see a need and fill it without being directly asked, then you are providing an important service to those in need. By helping to fulfill their needs, these people can go on to have a better day and positive moods can be infectious! You will never know the true impact of your kindness and cooperation when you help someone, yet it can be dramatic. For instance, if you help your grandmother by cutting her grass on a sunny afternoon, then that will be one less thing that she will have to worry about. This may help to reduce her blood pressure and give her some extra peace of mindboth things that you may have no idea about. By volunteering to coach a soccer team or to make sandwiches to feed the hungry, you may never know the true impact that your time, resources, and talents have had on the players or those without food, but chances are good that your kindness and compassion will encourage these people to be thankful and to pass it forward to others like themselves, as they are able.

When people help others, it is a satisfying and pleasant feeling to know that you have made a positive difference for someone else. And, feeling good about your deeds can improve your own emotional health. In fact, volunteering is sometimes used as a form of therapy for people suffering from anxiety, mood, and other mental disorders. On a more physical note, providing active assistance to others can release endorphins in our brains which are the feel-good chemicals in our bodies. Just like exercise can lift the mood and provide better health and relaxation for those who are active, working for the good of others can result in similar positive effects.

Adults and children who volunteer are good role models for their peers and other bystanders. By watching the things that helpful volunteers do, others can become inspired and, in turn, volunteer their services to others in need. Adults who volunteer also tend to encourage their own children to volunteer, too. This continues the cycle and helps to develop compassion and an active interest in the welfare of others in todays youth and in society, in general. And, no one can underestimate the importance of these phenomena for the present and future generations to come.

Volunteering to help others can also provide practical experience for those looking for a career or to enhance their chances at being accepted into college. It is never too early to start volunteering and even children and teenagers can help make a positive difference to people in their communities. These collective experiences can be added to your work/volunteer history that you may create for subsequent work and college applications. Volunteering to help others less fortunate illustrates a depth of care and compassion for others which many employers and college admissions boards appreciate.

In order to get started volunteering, you will need a few things:

1) Determine a need or interest in your community

2) Consult with the people already in charge of that area

3) Volunteer your time and talents to improve the need

To find a place to volunteer, just think of local agencies in your community that focus on improving the lives of its residents. For instance, churches, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, food banks, animal shelters, and libraries are just a few of the many places for opportunities that you can investigate to help make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Here is a partial list of such agencies in the Prestonsburg area:

Animal Shelter

Floyd County Animal Shelter 886-3189

Churches

Auxier Freewill Baptist Church 886-3490

Church of Christ 886-6223

First Christian Church 886-8551

First Presbyterian Church 886-2214

First United Methodist Church 886-8031

Fitzpatrick First Baptist Church 886-6204

Little Paint First Church of God 886-3699

St. James Episcopal Church 886-8046

St. Martha Catholic Church 874-9526

Spurlock Old Regular Baptist Church 886-6366

Commercial Food Bank

Gods PantryEast Food Bank 886-2374

Hospitals

Highlands Regional Medical Center 886-8511

VA Prestonsburg Primary Care Clinic 886-1970

Library

Floyd County Library 886-2284

Nursing Homes

Prestonsburg Health Care Center 886-2378

Riverview Health Care Center 886-9178

Schools

Auxier Center for Continuing Education 886-0709

Family Resource Center 639-6967

Floyd County Board of Education 874-3553

Prestonsburg High School 886-2252

Robinson Creek Elementary School 639-9318

Suggested References :

Friedman, J. amp; Roehlkepartain, J. (2012). Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools, and Communities. Free Spirit Press.

Lewis, B. (2012). The Kids Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference. Free Spirit Press.

Rondeau, A. (2011) Volunteering (United We Stand). Sandcastle Publishers.

Silverstein, S. (1964). The Giving Tree. Harper Collins Publishers.

Questions or Comments? Please contact: Sabra Jacobs, Professor of Psychology, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, 1 Bert T. Combs Drive, Prestonsburg, KY 41653; email sabra.jacobs@kctcs.edu ; call (606) 889-4778; or stop by my office Pike Building, room 209 f on the Prestonsburg Campus.