Volunteering and Mentoring

April 04, 2020

Volunteering and Mentoring

Donating your time, expertise, and service for the good of another is the essence of volunteerism.  While the concept is increasing in popularity and trending among all age groups, volunteerism is rich in history, spanning from the battlefield to the inner city streets.  Its focus has remained the same through the generations—to encourage goodness and improvement in humanity’s quality of life.   

The Faces Behind Volunteerism

There are as many ways to volunteer your time as there are organizations that welcome it.  Volunteering is not only a “feel-good” activity but an integral part of our communities as well.  More than 60 million Americans serve as volunteers or mentors, donating more than eight billion hours of service each year. 


With all that help, do they really need more?  How would one more person really make a difference?  Consider for a moment what would happen if volunteers just stopped serving.  Homeless shelters would close.  Food pantries would be empty.  Community parks would be full of trash.  The elderly might be forgotten.  The visually impaired might not have trained service animals.  Afterschool programs would cease to exist, leaving countless children susceptible to life on the streets.  Without volunteers, the impact on our towns, schools, parks, museums, and faith-based institutions would be catastrophic. 


What Do Volunteers Do?

Volunteers provide a variety of services and support throughout our nation.  Some of the activities in which volunteers and mentors participate include answering phones, delivering meals, serving as volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians, working on political campaigns, caring and training animals, building homes and infrastructure, beautifying parks, and assisting with arts and cultural exhibits. 


Volunteers who provide support and guidance to young people are known as mentors, and while mentoring can be a much bigger commitment than other types of service, it can also be even more rewarding.  Check with your local schools, community non-profits, or faith community to find out more about mentoring opportunities and how you can start.


Why Volunteer?

Being able to make a difference in the life of another, and often your own as well, is one of the greatest advantages of volunteerism.  It is also a healthy way to cope after the news of a disaster or tragedy of some kind.  Believing it is a valuable part of education, many high schools across the country require students to volunteer a certain amount of hours in order to graduate.  In addition, there are many other reasons to donate your time:

  • Promote health- Research shows that focusing on another and helping them can reduce stress and interrupt your body’s patterns of tension. In addition, volunteers note an increase in overall happiness and pride.
  • Build relationships- A community is only as strong as its people. Friendships often emerge from volunteering, and neighborhoods grow closer.  Every person counts, and each volunteer makes a difference.     
  • Deepen Values- For many volunteers, the experience alone is enough to reshape, redirect, or further deepen their core values, perspectives, and life goals. It may even spur on greater spiritual and/or emotional growth.
  • Increase purpose- Many a successful businessman or woman has confessed to feeling “empty,” despite reaching the top of his or her career. Volunteering is a means to engage in a truly life changing experience where one finds meaning and purpose. 
  • Prepare for a career- Opportunities to experience a trade before investing a lot of time and money for the formal training can be an invaluable exploratory tool. Try out a variety of volunteer jobs and gain valuable experience you might need for a career in that field.  You also might connect with a future employer or make a solid networking connection.  In addition, volunteer experience is an asset on any résumé, job or college application. 
  • Encourage learning- You can develop a variety of skills and passions from volunteering. Receiving and giving training demonstrates your ability to be a good student and teacher.
  • Save money- When you volunteer your time, the funds saved can be reallocated to other needs. The estimated value of a volunteer’s work in terms of average hourly pay is $15.39 an hour.  This amounts to considerable savings in an organization.  Volunteer work is valued at over $150 billion in the United States alone.
  • Develop good citizenship- Becoming a volunteer makes you an integral part of your community and develops civic responsibility. It will also keep you informed about the news and needs in your area. 

Time vs. Money

There is no denying it; volunteering or mentoring is a sacrifice.  Anyone can write a check, but donated time is a great gift and a commodity we all have.  How are you spending yours?  You will never get back minute for minute the time you donate to volunteerism.  But most volunteers would argue you receive much, much more in return. 


Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call Amplified Life at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.


If you are interested in making a difference through volunteerism, search out opportunities based on your interests and commitment levels at http://www.volunteerguide.org/







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