Why volunteer? Government can’t do it all, never has. Give a few hours a week to make your community a better place and get happier in the process.
Authoritative studies from east to west, Harvard to Stanford, support the irony that helping others improves the well-being of the volunteer. Even Charles Darwin considered the place of altruism in the survival of the species. Post-Darwin studies suggest that hormones are released that cause what’s been called “volunteers’ high” or happiness. Physical health improves by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, you move around more and interact more; experience emotional health through more social interaction, curbing bias and judgment, giving a sense of purpose; and mental health by exercising your brain, learning new things.
Volunteers are needed now more than ever as local, state and federal agencies struggle to provide services due to lack of funding and staff. Volunteers are essential for nonprofits that fill in the gaps.
So, it’s still early in the year. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. There’s time to act on that New Year’s resolution. Pick a cause and go for it. Then, when someone asks you, “What’s new?,” you’ll have something to say.
In the words of that great philosopher, Lily Tomlin on the state of the union: “Somebody needs to do something! Wait a minute, I am somebody!”
By the way, if you don’t have a cause in mind, help one abused or neglected child in your community. Call CASA.
attorney, chairman, Capital Area CASA Association