Volunteering makes a difference for everyone. Not only does it benefit the health and well-being of those in need and builds a stronger community, but did you know that when you volunteer it can also benefit your own overall personal well-being? In fact, volunteering has the potential to positively impact all dimensions of well-being including, but not limited to, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual. Volunteers report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than do non-volunteers, and their life satisfaction and physical health improves at a greater rate as a result of volunteering . For older adults, volunteering can be especially beneficial due to that population being more vulnerable to illness and depression .
“Good health means much more than a set of numbers tracking height, weight, heart rate, and cholesterol. It starts with the individual. It means taking an integrated approach to wellbeing that includes not only our physical health, but our emotional health, our sense of purpose, our connections to our community and our overall quality of life.” – UnitedHealth Group 
In a Health and Volunteering Study conducted by UnitedHealth Group in 2013 they found that :
- 76% of people who volunteered in the last twelve months say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.
- 94% of people who volunteered in the last twelve months say that volunteering improves their mood.
- 78% of people who volunteered in the last 12 months say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.
- 95% say they are helping to make their community a better place.
- 96% say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life.
- 80% of people who have volunteered in the past 12 months say that they feel they have control over their health.
There’s no lack of places that could greatly benefit from your time, services, and talent. Start exploring opportunities today and find a place where you can offer a helping hand!
- Grimm, R., Jr., Spring, K., & N.D. (2007, April). The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research [PDF]. Washington, DC: Corporation for National & Community Service.
- Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study [PDF]. (2013). Minnetonka, MN: Optum Health.
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About the author:
Stephanie Pichan is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Whitaker LaChance Agency in Portage, Michigan. She’s a graduate of the Community Health Education program at Western Michigan University where she worked on an innovative team for 10 years developing health technology behavior-change interventions. She has a specific interest in the area of holistic health and believes in the healing power of food and its role in disease prevention. Although she strives to get at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she believes it’s important to indulge from time to time; ice cream is usually the winner. Whether through work, volunteering, or every day connections, she’s passionate about helping others live their best life possible. Stephanie is developing the health and wellness area at Whitaker LaChance and using her creativity to contribute to the vision of the marketing team. She’s excited to be an integral part of helping the agency grow and expand.