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Pete’s Perspective: National Volunteer Month

Pete’s Perspective: National Volunteer Month

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Everyone has the power to make a difference in another person’s life by volunteering. What a gift! There is something truly special about contributing to the greater good in the world through helping others. And it comes full circle for volunteers and the communities they serve.

April is National Volunteer Month. There are so many benefits to volunteering that we wish it was something we could prescribe. It gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, leading to a happier life. It reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, decreases depression and anxiety. On the physical front, volunteering gets you moving and can be a way to burn calories while doing something enjoyable.

Volunteering gets you out of your own bubble. It teaches you about perspective. People who assist with food distributions learn that boxes of macaroni and cheese mix do little for a family that can’t afford the milk and butter needed to make it into a meal. Those who help with beach and park cleanups are sometimes taken aback by the amount of tiny bits of trash – the cigarette butts, candy wrappers and bottle caps – that pile up. People with a knack for organization may be surprised to learn how much the skills they take for granted are appreciated by others. Sometimes the perspective gained is that simply listening can be a gift.

People who help others create connections. They build friendships. They get to know their community. And they feel good about themselves. Because they know they are making a difference.

By giving back to the community, you inspire others to do the same. Your friends may see your enthusiasm and join you. Your children will see firsthand how easy it is and learn how great it feels. Doing good for others will build their self-confidence, increase their social skills, and give them pride in a job well done.

We are fortunate to live in a community with a diverse range of ways to contribute as a volunteer. A willingness to help and a positive attitude are the main requirements. Salinas Valley Health has a number of options for helping that you can learn about on our website. Blue Zones Project Monterey County has community engagement opportunities in a variety of geographic areas on its website and also on its events page.

Whether it’s the beach or the forest that calls you; working with animals, children or the elderly; participating in community cleanups; lending a hand at fundraisers; being a coach or a mentor; helping with theatre, music or arts programs; there are opportunities to suit everyone.

Want to be happier? Try volunteering. You might find it is just what the doctor ordered.

Be well.


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