If you always wanted to volunteer, many organizations need your help. As states loosen their coronavirus restrictions, consider a volunteer position. There are many great causes that need assistance to address unprecedented challenges.
While there are many worthwhile medical charities, consider volunteering in a different field. You gain many benefits from doing work outside of your career.
1. Volunteering Reduces Loneliness
As a healthcare professional, it is important to note that loneliness increases your risk for serious health problems: high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Volunteering means you connect with people who have similar interests. You also feel part of a community when you contribute time to a cause.
2. Make friends outside of the medical field
If you often spend more than 40 hours per week at work, there is little time left to make new friends. A steady volunteer gig allows you to connect with people who have similar interests. For people who are shy or have trouble making friends, it is a great way to meet new people.
3. Spend time with your children
If you have children, volunteering allows you to spend more time with them. You and your daughter can create care packages for people with cancer. You and your son can help church members get groceries.
Much of modern parenting is driving your child from one event to another. Volunteering allows you to share your time and values with your child. You encourage civic responsibility in your son or daughter, too.
4. Be a part of your community
You move to a new city after finding a great job on HospitalRecruiting.com. Now you need to establish roots.
Being part of a faith-based or non-profit institution helps you integrate into a community. You learn about issues facing your new city. You gain the opportunity to meet and cultivate friendships with community leaders.
5. Develop new/existing talents
There are charities that have amateur musicians play for patients. Habitat for Humanity and similar organizations help build/maintain homes for struggling individuals. Whether you enjoy music, carpentry, or something else, you can develop your talents while assisting others.
6. Improve physical health
Finding time to work out is hard. Volunteer opportunities such as stocking shelves at a food bank or cleaning up parks allow you to partner exercise with helping others. Outdoor volunteer gigs allow you to get fresh air and sunshine.
7. Improve mental health
This benefit is similar to the first. Research links volunteering to better mental health. Volunteering correlates with lower rates of depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s.
8. Gain exposure to helpful organizations
Some organizations provide services that help patients socially or financially. There are organizations such as Phil’s Friends in Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana that make care packages for people with cancer. Other charities help people with medical bills or transportation to appointments. You can participate with organizations that can, in turn, help your patients.
Finding Volunteer Opportunities
Giving your time is like giving your money, you don’t want to waste it on an ineffective or untrustworthy organization. There are tools you can use to find highly respected volunteer organizations.
Charity Navigator evaluates organizations based on transparency and accountability. They rank charities that specialize in areas that include, but are not limited to, the arts, conservation, education, and human services. You find charities that serve the U.S. and some that work internationally. Groups such as VolunteerMatch and Idealist assist you in identifying groups.
You can also look closer to home. Feel free to reach out to a local museum or botanic garden. Churches and other faith-based organizations offer opportunities to give back to the community.
Remember to Have Fun
When you were in school, volunteering was likely presented as something you needed for community service credits or to improve your resume. This framing makes volunteering seem like a chore. You want to have fun in your spare time as an adult.
Volunteering is a great source of fun. You can help others, beautify your community, and share your values. It allows you to develop interests and talents beyond the medical field. Additionally, you aid an organization in fulfilling its mission.