“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
What is volunteerism?
Volunteerism is the act of voluntarily giving one’s time away for free. It can take the form of anything from cleaning your church to lending a hand at your local shelter or even crossing borders to build schools. However, this act of kindness not only helps those receiving the aid, but it also benefits the person supplying it.
Why does volunteerism matter?
With the world in its current state, it has become the norm for people to turn inward and be self-preserving. Understandably, reasons vary from fear to politics to Covid-19 and have built walls and ushered in stress and division. However, during the pandemic, we also witnessed a rise in volunteerism. Random acts of kindness, selflessness, and goodness began to be sprinkled throughout our timelines, the news, and our communities. We were able to witness citizens hand stitching masks for first responders, nurses traveling to other states to provide an extra hand for those who needed the help the most, individuals providing assistance and supplies to the homeless, and that is just a few instances.
What is the correlation between volunteerism and mental wellness?
According to the Mayo Clinic, being kind has shown to light-up part of our brain that cause pleasure and boost serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that give us a feeling of satisfaction and well-being. How incredible is that? And these feel-good chemicals don’t only give you a happy boost, but they also lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and depression, relieve stress related headaches and chest pain, as well as eliminating stomach and digestive issues caused by tension. Who wouldn’t want to indulge in those incredible side effects of kindness?
How can I become a volunteer?
As you can see, volunteerism does not always have to be in the form of donating money to charity. Donating time, services, or goods can be as unique as the people fulfilling the needs.
Here are a few ideas for getting involved yourself and scoring your respective dose of endorphins):
Start in your city: Do a quick online search to find out how you can help out in your city. It may feel like low-hanging fruit, but charity starts at home. Checking out postings from local churches, shelters, soup kitchens, and youth organizations could be your way into not only finding causes that greatly need the help, but also your door to finding community and family.
Continue in your state: Consider adopting a grandparent, or sibling. This may not come to mind immediately, but the need for this type of bonding is great and possibly more important than before. As the pandemic draws out, the elderly are being intensely affected. Whether their families live out of state, they are no longer able to leave their home/ retirement home, or they live alone, having a young set of arms and legs to help with chores or having someone to watch television with and help with dinner is a godsend and means the world. Likewise, youths are growing up in a time of incredible (and scary) circumstances. Some have parents who have lost their jobs due to layoffs, while others have lost family members to COVID-19. They are dealing with the stresses of social media and the news, and the weight of just being teens. Becoming a big brother or sister, giving these teens someone to talk to, helping with homework, helping with prom, or treating them to a movie or trip to the mall could relieve that stress and replace it with hope.
Expand across the nation or globe: If you are itching to go over and beyond in your volunteerism, organizations like the Red Cross are constantly looking for volunteers to help in places such as United States, Africa, Asia, and South America. Whether you have skills or just a heart for giving, they are more than grateful to receive your help.
These are just a few ways to be of service, but the beauty of volunteerism is that it can come in so many different forms. Kindness is priceless and giving your time is worth more than gold. How will you or do you volunteer your time? Please let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- American Red Cross (2022). Volunteer internationally. Retrieved from
- Mayo Clinic Health Systems (2022). The art of kindness. Retrieved from