Reason #1: You Feel a Sense of Duty
This is why we started Volunteer Network OC: we believe that those who are more fortunate should help those who are less fortunate. You may have been blessed with a good family, a nice home, mental and physical health, the opportunity to receive a good education, etc. Others have not been so lucky. Can you imagine your life without those blessings and how you may have turned out under different circumstances? We believe that each of us should feel a sense of duty to help people who have been dealt a worse hand in life than we have.
Reason #2: It Could Be You
Under a different set of circumstances in your life, you could have been the person needing help. For example, if you had been born with a mental condition, such as schizophrenia, you may have found yourself living on the streets. If that were the case, you would appreciate help from caring volunteers. Helping others is like helping a version of your potential self.
Reason #3: Small Gestures Make a Significant Impact on Someone Else’s Life
When an individual is living on the street or a child is born into poverty, it is natural to feel worthless or invisible. When another person reaches out to make a difference in that person’s life, talks to that person, looks them in the eyes, smiles at them, shows that they care, that person feels less invisible. A small gesture by a volunteer can have a significant impact on another person. It lets them know that they are every bit as valuable and relevant as every other person in our community.
Reason #4: The Community Needs You
We all want to live in a strong, healthy community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. The problem of homelessness and poverty exists. As a community, we all need to lend a hand to individuals and families who are less fortunate than us. Hopefully, with a little help, many of them can get to a better place and also give back. It is a cycle of giving that will make our community a better place to live.
Reason #5: You Will Connect with Other Volunteers
People who volunteer care about others. They are the type of people who are worth knowing. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and make friendships. It also broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.
Reason #6: It Increases Your Confidence
Volunteering increases your self-awareness and self-confidence. It can provide a healthy boost to your self-esteem. You feel better about yourself and come away with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Reason #7: The Happiness Effect
Studies have found that helping others kindles happiness. In 2013, researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults. They learned that there is a positive correlation between volunteering and happiness, and that the more often people volunteered, the happier they were. Compared with people who never volunteer, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt very happy—a hike in happiness comparable to having an income of $75,000–$100,000 versus $20,000, said the researchers.
What are your reasons to volunteer? Whatever your reasons, we encourage you to learn about the amazing non-profit organizations in our community and then to volunteer your time to help them help others. Take the first step by registering as a volunteer on this site.
For more information on poverty in Orange County, please see our article titled Poverty: The Problem | The Solution.