During Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 23 through April 29, volunteers were celebrated across the City of Sedona and the U.S. Like so many of our sister agencies, the Sedona Community Center took the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and express our gratitude to our amazing volunteers that are so key to providing vital, healthy and needed services to our neighbors.
As readers may recall, I have taken the opportunity to explore the benefits of ‘giving’ in this column previously. Whether volunteering time, resources, or talents, the reasons people volunteer are as varied as the people themselves. This is true of the benefits the volunteers receive, as well. Among the positive results you experience as a volunteer are—supporting a cause you believe in, developing skills, setting an example for your children/grandchildren, doing something you truly enjoy, and making social or career connections. As science and medical research has expanded, so has the ability to measure the physical, mental and psychological impact the intangible process of volunteering has for each person. Beyond some of the more obvious benefits of volunteering, you may be surprised to find that giving of yourself has other remarkable advantages.
In a study conducted by Cassie Mogilner, she found that people who specifically give their time to help another, feel less rushed and in better control of their lives. As Ms. Mogilner describes in the Harvard Business Review, “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time…our research indicates that giving even a small amount of time to someone else should make you feel you can do more in the time you have. If you use a break to indulge yourself or to do something mindless like watching TV, you might enjoy it, but it soaks up your time perceptually as well as objectively. It won’t make you feel less pressured. You’re better off picking an activity, like helping others, that makes you feel that you can do more with your day.”
An interesting article in the Corporation for National and Community Service compiled multiple studies and concluded, “Over the past two decades we have seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”
Sedona Community Center volunteer, Piya Jacob, sums it up nicely, “It’s important, I would even say crucial, to give back to the community.” Piya says she was attracted to volunteering at the Sedona Community Center because she wanted to help the older seniors and there is “a lot to learn from the generation above me. They were the generation that showed us how to give back and what resilience means.” Piya has simple but wise words to share with anyone contemplating a volunteer position, “There is always an opportunity to volunteer our fingers and our back.” Volunteers are the life flow for the Sedona Community Center’s critical community services such as Meals on Wheels, the Community Lunch, Breakfast/ Weekend Club, TeleCare and Wellness checks, mailing projects, and event assistance. We appreciate each dedicated volunteer, the talents they bring, the smiles, and the camaraderie. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Sedona Community Center drop by for a visit, click on the ‘Make A Difference’ tab on our website, or call us at 928 282-2834.