(Introduction) The benefits of volunteering are significant. After thoroughly examining the impact volunteering has on both the community and the volunteers themselves, it seemed that a brief understanding of these benefits could change the lives of each person here today. Volunteering not only assists with keeping the cost of supplies and other necessities down in the community, but it reduces stress and improves mental health by providing the volunteer with a sense of civic engagement, accomplishment, and optimism.
(Point 1) Each person should be concerned with the well-being of the community they live in, particularly the safety of it, the financial standpoints of it, and the school systems that reside in it.
(Support) The safety of a community is exceedingly important for both families and those that live on their own. When searching for a place to live, most people look for a safe area. Ensuring that the neighborhood stays safe is a key component of volunteering. An excellent example of this is neighborhood safety patrol. This is when members of the neighborhood, patrol the area themselves rather than hiring outside help as security. It is an easy and efficient way of using volunteer resources to cut the cost of patrol, as well as guaranteeing the safety of the neighborhood.
Although safety is the most important aspect of a neighborhood, the finances of a community are also vital. An excellent example of volunteering and cost-cutting includes hospitals. By volunteering at a hospital, not only do the patients receive quality care but the members of the community are able to remain healthy and gain access to less costly healthcare. As Femida Handy and Narasimhan Srinivasan describe in an article, “Hospitals may be attracted to increase the use of volunteers, both to provide increased quality of care and to contain costs” (p. 2). This idea encourages that more volunteers be used to successfully ensure the health of community members and focuses on the improvement of finances in the community.
By volunteering, rather than paying an outside source, the community is able to save money that could be infiltrated to other important features that the community may be struggling with financially. This could include finance for extracurricular activities at the local schools, helping to fund the local library, or supporting local businesses. Volunteering not only helps support the local community but significantly benefits the school systems as well. By volunteering for events such as car washes to raise money, awards ceremonies for sports, and scholarly activities that could potentially include scholarships themselves, the children and future of these communities are able to drastically enhance their lives.
(Transition to point 2) The importance that volunteering has on a community through safety and finance is vital. However, it must also be noted that the physical benefit that a volunteer experiences can also be tremendously worthwhile.
(Point 2) The action of volunteering itself, depending on the service, can certainly strengthen a person physically. However, what is highly notable are the physical long term benefits of volunteer work. It has been proven that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. As Robert Grimm et al, (2007) suggests “Evidence indicates that those who volunteer at an earlier stage are less likely to suffer from ill health later in life” (p. 9). It should be clarified though, that physical benefits are also seen immediately in life as well as later. Physical activity also produces endorphins which can improve the mental health of a person
(Transition to point 3 and point 3 (one can benefit mentally) The physical effects are not the only important trait that impacts the overall health of a person, but the mental aspects should be taken into consideration as well. In many studies, it is shown that the stress level of those who volunteer and are not coerced into the tasks seems to generally lower. This allows for a more optimistic outlook and feelings of accomplishment and self-satisfaction become more apparent. According to an article by Jane Piliavin and Erica Siegl “Numerous studies reveal protective effects of volunteering on mental and physical health” (p.450). This indicates that the positive effects of volunteering are substantial to a person’s mental health. These effects include, as stated before, a reduced stress level, a strong sense of accomplishment, a lower rate of depression, and a higher rate of self-worth.
(Conclusion) Volunteering is not only essential to a community and its ability to prosper, but the benefits for each individual volunteer are also noteworthy. The long term benefits of volunteering can change that helper’s life enormously. Along with benefiting themselves, volunteers can change the lives in their community for the better as well. There is truly nothing more rewarding than giving back and helping to improve the welfare of others.
Grimm, Robert, Kimberly Spring, and Nathan Dietz. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research. Washington: Corporation for National and Community Service, 2007. Print.
Handy, Femida, and Narasimhan Srinivasan. "Valuing Volunteers: An Economic Evaluation of the Net Benefits of Hospital Volunteers." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 33.1 (2004): 28-54. Print.
Piliavin, Jane Allyn, and Erica Siegl. "Health Benefits of Volunteering in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study." Health and Social Behavior 48.4 (2007): 450-464. Print.