We are always looking for people who wish to contribute their time and effort for our cause. You can make a real difference in the lives of people and the City of Fall River.
There are many reasons to make volunteering part of your life.
(referenced Psychology Today/Dawn C. Carr MGS, Ph.D.)
- Volunteers live longer and are healthier. Volunteers are happier and healthier than non-volunteers. In fact, later in life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one's health than exercising and eating well. Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer. However, older people who volunteer are almost always people who volunteered earlier in life. Health and longevity gains from volunteering come from establishing meaningful volunteer roles before you retire and continuing to volunteer once you arrive in your post-retirement years.
- Volunteering establishes strong relationships. Despite all of the online connections that are available at our fingertips, people are lonelier now than ever before. Indeed, a 2010 AARP study reported that prevalence of loneliness is at an all time high, with about one in three adults age 45 or older categorized as lonely. Online connections, while useful for maintaining existing relationships, are not very helpful in establishing lasting, new ones. Working alongside people who feel as strongly as you do about supporting a particular cause creates a path to developing strong relationships with others. It isn't just beneficial for making new friendships, either: Volunteering alongside other members of your family strengthens family bonds based in "doing" your values. And these benefits have a ripple effect. Children who volunteer with their parents are more likely to become adults who volunteer.
- Volunteering is good for your career. People who volunteer make more money, partially because the relationships people create while volunteering can be leveraged for financial benefit. In 1973, Johns Hopkins sociologist Mark Granovetter described the important role of "weak ties." Weak ties are those relationships that are outside of one's close-knit social network. These relationships are important because they provide access to new information and opportunities. People in your close network provide redundant information: They are already participating in the same kinds of activities and know the same people. Volunteering has long been viewed as a way to create new "weak tie" connections that lead to career opportunities. Volunteering in your current career industry-or an area you'd like to transition into-is an especially effective way to leverage social connections for career gain.
- Volunteering is good for society. Many businesses, and almost all mission-driven organizations, are successful only if they maintain a strong volunteer workforce. In fact, places like museums, social service organizations, and faith-based organizations often rely on more volunteers than paid workers to meet their goals and fulfill their mission. These businesses are committed to doing good things for society. They pick up the pieces where government programs leave off, and by volunteering for these organizations, you participate in helping society meet the needs of people from all walks of life.
- Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose. Although it is not well understood why volunteering provides such a profound health benefit, a key factor is assumed to be that volunteering serves to express and facilitate opportunities to carry out one's sense of purpose. The very nature of volunteering means choosing to work without being paid for it. As a result, people choose to spend their time on issues they feel strongly about. If you are greatly concerned about the treatment and well-being of animals, for example, volunteering at an animal shelter will help you address a social problem that is meaningful to you.
If you aren't currently volunteering-three out of four of us aren't-there are many online resources to help you find an opportunity. Committing even as little as one hour a week can have a profound benefit on your own life, and the organizations that rely on such help will be able to thrive. Check out volunteermatch.org, serve.gov, allforgood.org, idealist.org, or go directly to an organization you support and ask what you can do. You'll get more back than you ever imagined.