Volunteering Reaps Many Benefits

by Bonney Brown

I never cease to be impressed by the generosity of people who give their time to help animals at Nevada Humane Society – be it walking dogs, playing with the cats, helping in the office, working on events, or providing foster care to kittens. We also see many professionals—from veterinarians to photographers—donating their skills.

However, a recent report from The Federal Agency for Service and Volunteerism found that while Nevadan’s volunteerism is on the rise, we still come in third to last among the 50 states. States with higher volunteer rates tend to have lower mortality rates and reduced incidence of heart disease.

According to a United Healthcare poll, 92 percent of volunteers said that giving their time and energy enriched their sense of purpose, 89 percent said it enhanced well-being, and 73 percent said it reduced stress.  Among retirees, those who volunteer regularly report the greatest sense of life satisfaction and volunteering reduces the incidence of depression for people in all age groups. Additionally, volunteering can become an important social outlet and help with developing a new network of friends.

Volunteers have reported that giving their time to a cause is one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences of their life.  However, it seems that to reap the benefits, one needs to meet a “volunteering threshold” of 100 hours of service per year or about two hours per week.

Interested in volunteering your time but need a little extra help getting started? Here are some tips from experts:

•Find a cause that truly matters to you.

•Find a friend, relative or co-worker to join you.

•Donate your skills by doing something you already enjoy, be it knitting, graphic design or carpentry.

Often animal lovers who would like to volunteer are apprehensive about the emotion of seeing homeless pets, but most organizations need help with tasks that do not involve interacting with animals, including fundraising events, outreach and office work.

For more information on volunteering with a local animal shelter, reach out to one or more of these groups:

You can make a difference for the animals and experience the joys and benefits of volunteering!

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