By Hannah Huelin-Meek
People volunteer for all kinds of different reasons. Whether it’s to develop a new skill, build your resume, give back to the community, contribute to a cause you care about, or simply because you want to help others and make a difference, the reasons for volunteering differ depending on the person. Whatever your reason may be, volunteering comes in many forms. It’s important to find the right opportunity that provides meaningful work and is enjoyable to you. For me and for many others, this meaningful work was found through the Red Cross.
Here at the Red Cross Central California, we work hard to provide a variety of engaging opportunities across our seven chapters for our existing volunteers or those just beginning their volunteering journey. The Red Cross functions because of volunteers, so it is our goal to create environments that are fulfilling and beneficial to our volunteers.
Here are some benefits that volunteering could have in your life:
Connecting with Others in Your Community.
If you are considering volunteering with the Red Cross, you will be greatly involved in your community. No matter if the is task big or small, getting involved at the community level connects you to others. It allows you to meet individuals with shared common interests while at the same time giving back to the community in beneficial ways, like installing free smoke alarms at the Sound the Alarm events put on by the Red Cross in your community. Volunteering as a family within the community also has an added layer of benefit, as children can see firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others.
Career Advancement and Skill-Building.
Volunteering can help build new skill sets. For some, having the ability to build upon their expertise or learn an entirely new skill can be very rewarding, especially if it’s helping to advance their career or potentially switch fields. Volunteering can help prove your commitment to a specific area and can make you more appealing to hiring managers, and let’s face it, finding a new passion through volunteer work is an added bonus that cannot be found in many other places. At the Red Cross, there are various ways to build new skills through volunteer opportunities. Through disaster training or communication efforts, there are always ways to build new skills to support the community as volunteers.
Mental Health Benefits Through Volunteering.
In today’s day and age, there is a greater focus on happiness and how we can increase our overall mental health. Volunteering has been shown to help combat depression, give purpose, increase self-confidence and yes, make us happy! Volunteering can even trigger reward centers in the brain, leading to more satisfaction in the work that you do. Volunteering can also be a nice distraction from daily routines adding a new layer of engagement with the other volunteers you are working with and the work you are doing.
If you’re thinking about volunteering, there are several avenues to explore. Whether it is helping in your community, deploying domestically or internationally, or volunteering your time remotely, every volunteer is valued and can make a difference.
Through being a part of the Red Cross, I have seen these benefits positively affect the lives of so many volunteers. If you want to be a part of the American Red Cross click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Hannah Huelin-Meek is a Talent Management Leader at the American Red Cross, focused on Talent Acquisition, Employee and Volunteer Development and Domestic and Global Engagement.