Volunteering: 10 Ways It Makes Your Life Better

Why People Volunteer

Have you considered volunteering in your community or for a cause you care about? You may not have considered the many benefits of volunteering, some of those being unexpected benefits, and how volunteering can positively affect everyone involved. We at Habitat for Humanity know the benefits of volunteering well, so let’s talk about why people volunteer, the importance of community services, and how being a community volunteer can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. 

Benefits of Volunteering 

The beauty of volunteering is that people do it to help others, whether people or animals. Many people start as community volunteers because they want to help those less fortunate than themselves. Once you start to help others, you instantly start seeing the benefits of volunteering in yourself and your life. These unexpected benefits include improving your emotional, social, and even physical health, not to mention your professional life. The benefits of volunteering are endless, so here are a few to start! Studies have shown that volunteer work is even more valuable than the work we do for monetary gain.

Community Building

Volunteering, Charity, People and Ecology Concept - Group of Happy Volunteers With Tree Seedlings and Gardening Tools in Park

To directly engage with your community, start volunteering! When you volunteer, you not only build your community, but you build your social network and make countless valuable connections with new people as well. Many people create lifelong friendships with other people who volunteer. By volunteering and creating these meaningful, long-lasting relationships, you can combat any isolation or loneliness you may be experiencing socially as well. 

Mental Health Benefits

One of the unexpected benefits of volunteering is improving your mental health. As humans, we crave and need meaningful connections with other people. Volunteering increases socialization, and consistent socialization lowers your risk of anxiety and depression and creates better brain function. In addition to improving your mental health, the benefits of volunteering also positively affect your physical health by improving your immune system. 

A Long and Happy Life

We know why people volunteer – the importance of community services is inevitable! But did you know that volunteering helps people to develop and improve emotional stability as well? Because volunteering requires other community volunteers, friends, family, and co-workers to work closely together, creating more powerful connections and relationships. Through this teamwork, volunteering is proven to help people live longer, happier, and more meaningful lives. 

A Sense of Purpose

Volunteering has been directly shown to improve and create emotional stability. Things like low self-esteem, PTSD, depression, anger management issues, and even OCD improve through volunteer work by helping people connect to others and feel a sense of purpose. These meaningful connections created by volunteering positively impact and improve social function and decrease symptoms of these conditions. 

Better Self-Esteem 

Many teens and young adults experience low self-esteem or self-worth and suffer from conditions such as eating disorders, depression, social anxiety, body dysmorphia, and more. Volunteering can be not only life-changing, but it can save lives as well. When young people start as community volunteers, the benefits of volunteering and helping others takes effect quickly by improving self-worth and image, self-esteem, and confidence. 

Animal Therapy 

You may wonder why people volunteer with animals, and the answer goes deeper than dogs being man’s best friend. The benefits of volunteering with animals or animal shelters are endless, especially if you live with mental illness or different mental or physical abilities. Studies have shown that people are calmer and happier when they work with dogs, directly and positively impacting not only the animals but also the volunteers. Such programs are available for incarcerated individuals who struggle with mental illness and veterans recovering from PTSD. Volunteering with animals reduces stress and improves well-being overall. 

A Long, Happy, and Healthy Life

Research has shown that volunteering can promote a long, happy, and healthy life. People who volunteer are recorded as living longer with less disease and better health overall. Engaging in social service has improved elasticity in the brain, which lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Social interaction helps delay and prevent Alzheimer’s, and volunteers are often better able to maintain connections in their brain that can otherwise break down when not engaged consistently. 

Aging Gracefully 

Happy Volunteer Family Separating Donations Stuffs on a Sunny Day

Volunteering benefits people of all ages! Volunteering at and through your older age can have tremendous physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits. Volunteering forces you to get up and out of the house for a good cause, literally getting people moving physically and gets you engaging with others as well. These can fall to the wayside as many individuals age, but volunteering helps counter this! We know that being active, physically and mentally, leads to health and happiness. Another of the unexpected benefits of volunteering is that it can help lower risks of heart disease and help people living with chronic illnesses and/or pain have fewer symptoms. 

Exercise

As more and more people work desk jobs, our society tends to have very sedentary lifestyles, which leads to many physical issues such as increased risks for disease, obesity, back and neck pain, and more. Even though volunteering is not always physically demanding, it makes you get out and get moving. Volunteer positions, like a food bank or shelter, or volunteering at an elderly or nursing home, all allow you to get up from your desk and get active. More actively physically engaging volunteer options are out there, such as working with the national parks system or youth sports. Many volunteers are shown to take better care of their physical health, such as maintaining a healthy weight and staying up to date with vaccinations. When you volunteer, you are investing just as much in your well-being as you are investing in the well-being of others. 

Improves Educational and Professional Opportunities

Many schools, colleges, and workplaces emphasize being a community volunteer and the importance of community services in getting accepted or hired. It can make or break educational and professional opportunities for young adults when it comes to having volunteered on your resume. Why not take that step in improving your outlook on getting into the school of your dreams or getting that position or promotion at your dream job? Volunteering directly benefits others and yourself, so shoot for the stars and make a difference in the process!

Volunteering with Limited Mobility

Whether you live with a disability, lack transportation or the means to take transportation, have time constraints, or otherwise, you can still engage in meaningful volunteer work! There are many projects and ways to help others and organizations in need from your own home. Whether you prefer digital projects such as writing or graphic design and illustration or volunteering via the computer or phone banking, many options are available. Some organizations could use the help designing a website or organizing and answering emails. Reach out to local or national organizations you care about to see how you can help within your means! All volunteer work is valuable and makes a difference. 

Embrace the Benefits of Volunteering

Now that you know more about the many benefits (some even unexpected) of volunteering and community service, you can embrace it! It is amazing to think how the efforts, time, energy, and passion of one individual can significantly impact another person’s life or the lives of many. At Habitat for Humanity, we believe in bettering the lives and futures of others for generations to come. Visit our website to learn more about what we do and start making a difference today!

How to Get Involved with Habitat for Humanity

As a non-profit organization that has a mission to minimize homelessness and build homes for families in need, Habitat for Humanity has already secured more than four million people and built more than 800,000 homes on a global scale. All the good work that Habitat for Humanity does is made possible thanks to the enthusiasm and selflessness of the volunteers. If you’re interested to learn how to get involved with Habitat for Humanity as well, keep on reading.

Main Ways to Get Involved as a Volunteer

Help Your Local Community

If you want to lend a helping hand and learn how to get involved in the local community as a volunteer, all you have to do is reach out to your local Habitat for Humanity chapter. You can phone, email, or get in touch via the Habitat website where other volunteers will guide you and explain the process. The application form on the site is already self-explanatory, but you’ll essentially be able to choose the most appropriate volunteer areas based on your skills and preferences, as well as the most suitable dates when you can volunteer.

It’s also possible to join a Youth Program if you’re between the ages of 12 and 18. The Program will connect the volunteers with their peers for projects related to the home building process.

If you have a strong desire to help the veterans in your community, you can also join the Veterans Build. This particular program focuses on building and repairing homes for veterans and their families who need it the most. And you don’t have to be a veteran yourself in order to join.

In case you’re unable to join the volunteers to build homes, you can still get involved and help your local community by making monetary donations or donating building materials.

habitat for humanity veteran build volunteers

Volunteer as a Part of a Group

Companies that are interested in engaging with and giving back to their communities can contact their local Habitat for Humanity chapter and discuss opportunities to help. Essentially, the whole business with their employees can join their forces outside work as well in order to help families regain a roof over their heads.

Habitat for Humanity originally started as a Christian organization. This is precisely why they welcome local faith groups to join them on their quest to help others. All religious organizations can get involved with the volunteer work, be it the home building, serving food, or simply collecting donations for the cause.

Ladies can also join the Women Build program which allows them to build homes for other women and children in the community. This is a great opportunity for ladies to learn more about construction work, expand their skill set, and take another step towards women empowerment.

Students can join the Habitat chapter that’s connected to their campus so that they can volunteer during the school break. If your school doesn’t have a campus chapter for Humanity, you can check to see whether you can start one or join the Youth United program.

Help Families Across the Globe

Habitat for Humanity has its chapters and branches all around the world, which allows willing volunteers to help people in need of housing internationally. You can choose to join the Global Village where you’ll have the chance to travel to more than 40 countries where Habitat operates and build homes there. The trips usually last between a week and a month. It’s also possible to volunteer long-term at one of Habitat’s locations in the US or internationally.

College students can start a Collegiate Challenge where they’ll be sent to some of Habitat’s US locations during semester breaks and take part in building homes there.

RV Care-a-Vanners program allows anyone with a functional RV to go on trips around the US and help the poverty-stricken communities. It’s also possible to donate a working RV.

Willing volunteers can also join the Disaster Corps. They’re scheduled to travel to locations that have been hit by a natural disaster and need help with rebuilding their homes and entire communities.

There are no pre-requirements to become a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Even if you have absolutely no knowledge of construction work, you’re welcome to get involved, and the organization will find a way to utilize your skills or teach you new ones. 

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Helping someone is a fulfilling feeling like no other. With your time and effort only, you get to make a huge difference in other people’s lives, and the best thing is you can see that difference with your own eyes! But there are other benefits of the whole concept that makes people happy to become a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

  1. Get a New and Better Job

Volunteering at Habitat is not just about doing one very specific thing over and over again. We provide our volunteers with a chance to learn new skills and engage in work areas they might not have had the opportunity to explore before. Through team-building activities at Habitat, volunteers go through professional and personal growth, which allows them to seek better job opportunities later on. 

Of course, even if you simply get to exercise the skills you already possess, you get to use your volunteer experience to strengthen your resume and amaze potential employers.

  1. Learn New Skills

As mentioned, Habitat for Humanity community service engages the help of people with various skillsets and allows every single one of them to expand on those. Every day brings something new; you might be assigned to help a family with home repairs, or you might get to work on a building site, most definitely get a chance to learn how to operate a new tool, and much more. What’s more, being engaged in the housing matters of your community will also give you the opportunity to educate yourself more on all sorts of housing issues and finances.

  1. The Joy of Team Building

It’s not every day that different people from different places get to work together with one noble goal in mind. You get to make the impossible happen simply by the fact that you all want to make a difference, and you know that the biggest difference will come from all your efforts coming together. 

There are no requirements, rules, prejudice, or anything else for your Habitat for Humanity volunteer application except the desire to join hands with others to help someone improve their living conditions. In that sense, you might walk into this whole thing surrounded by strangers, but you’ll walk out with a bunch of new friends.

The Joy of Team Building

  1. Make a Change Wherever

If you’re looking for good places to do community service, you can start with your own. This gives you an opportunity to make an impact locally and make your community a better place. But that doesn’t limit you to lend a helping hand to the rest of the world though. When you volunteer with Habitat, you can also travel across the US and Canada, as well as the rest of the world with a group of volunteers who’re interested in making a change at different destinations as well. After all, we build homes in more than 70 countries around the world.

  1. Be a Part of Something Grand

Being a part of Habitat’s volunteer program allows you to (re)connect with others within your community as well as other places in the world. The memories and impact you make will stay with you forever and let you tell an amazing story of unity, kindness, strength, and stability. Together with everyone at Habitat, you have the power to improve people’s lives.

So, how to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity? All you have to do is visit our website and fill out the application form. This is where you provide us with your contact info and preferred volunteer days. You also get to choose your volunteer areas of interest, such as construction, deconstruction, home center, office/clerical support, and/or lunch donations.