Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April is volunteer month: Tips to get you started!

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community. The benefits, however, can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. Volunteering also provides a platform for you to share your skills and area of expertise to the benefit of organizations. Click here to see an example  Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.

You are donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. The best way to volunteer is to find a match with your personality and interest. To make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit, research suggests that you  ask yourself if there is something specific that you want to do such as 
  • to improve the neighborhood where I live
  • to meet people who are different than me
  • to try something new
  • to do something with my spare time
  • to see a different way of life and new places
  • to have a go at the type of work I might want as a full-time job
  • to do more with my interests and hobbies

After you have identified your area of interest, be sure to engage the organization and or coordinator of your selected program by:-
Asking questions. You want to make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, and the time you want to spend. Sample questions to your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.
Making sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to change your focus if needed.
Now that you are armed with ALL this information, begin to enjoy the advantages of volunteering by visiting bergenvolunteers.org and viewing the hundreds of volunteer opportunities on the database. Sign up, enjoy your assignment and yourself and do not be afraid to make a change!

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