The Many Benefits of Volunteering
Brenda Poor
Without our wonderful volunteers, we would not be Global Care Force! Most volunteer because they have a servant-heart; serving others brings them joy and fulfillment. Some volunteer to travel, learn about other cultures, meet new people, or advance their careers. But, there are actual mental and physical health benefits to volunteering, like combatting depression and increasing your chances of living longer.

An article authored by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson found people who volunteer have increased self-confidence and gain a greater sense of purpose through helping others. Volunteering also helps combat depression and anxiety while providing a better perspective on life.

Studies show adults age 60 and older have benefits to physical and mental health by volunteering. Another study found volunteers report better physical health than non-volunteers. An analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging revealed that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not.

For young adults starting their careers, volunteering provides an opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, problem-solving, task management, and communication. It can also help them gain experience in their chosen career and widen their professional network.

Sheng Haley, a college student with a career focus in the medical field, plans to volunteer with Global Care Force at a hospice facility in Pacifica, California, to care for men at the end of life.

Global Care Force volunteers often describe the experience of serving others as transformational and even life-changing. Jodi Cook volunteers regularly in Tijuana and Rosarito with the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and says volunteering helped her grow as a person. “I learned life isn’t just about me and what I want. My life is now about what I can give to another person to make their life a little better.”

Medical volunteers getting started in their careers can expand their skills by working on-site to help others. Gaining skills like communication, data entry, patient interaction, and teamwork through volunteering can improve overall career performance.

Dr. Adian Gromoll, who volunteered in the Navajo Nation and other Global Care Force locations, found volunteering allows her to practice medicine that aligns with her values. “I can deliver high-quality medical care where it is needed, regardless of race, religion, language, economic status, as opposed to working in a medical model that places high value on the number of patients seen, profits, and other metrics.” Her experience in the Navajo Nation motivates her to advocate for vulnerable populations.

Global Care Force offers non-medical volunteer opportunities. Don Dunning volunteers in Gallup, New Mexico, at the St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen and Shelter. He agrees that volunteering is good for physical and mental health. “My time in Gallup was both emotionally and physically tiring, but yet so rewarding. It has been a reaffirmation of my faith and the need for serving those in need.”

Global Care Force is always looking for servant-hearted volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website for opportunities, or contact us at [email protected], or 913-489-7500.

So, be happier and healthier, and come volunteer with us!