April 30, 2022
Volunteerism and Mental Health
Volunteering is intrinsically rewarding, it increases our sense of social connection, it helps develop our self-esteem and confidence, and it creates opportunities to learn new things and develop new skills - all of which contribute to a greater sense of joy and happiness.
Since we at KDS completely missed the social media boat for Volunteer Week 2022, we thought we’d try to make up for it by recognizing the benefits of volunteerism on wellness and mental health in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
When we think of volunteerism, it’s only natural to focus on the benefits to others. That’s why we volunteer, isn’t it – to contribute to a community or cause so that others may benefit and flourish? But according to a 2020 research paper published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (yes, that’s a real thing. yes, it’s amazing), volunteering actually makes volunteers happier over time.
Volunteering is intrinsically rewarding, it increases our sense of social connection, it helps develop our self-esteem and confidence, and it creates opportunities to learn new things and develop new skills – all of which contribute to a greater sense of joy and happiness. And let’s face it, after the last 26 months, we could all use a little more happiness.
Our team at KDS is no exception. We are all bringing our skills and passion to causes we feel strongly about, and that make us feel grounded and hopeful:
Kathy dedicates her time and effort as a Commissioner of her town’s Planning and Zoning Board and its committee that is studying options for affordable housing development. Kathy is living that mission-driven life that gives her a sense of purpose and joy!
Christina volunteers her time campaigning for candidates for local and state office, and then turned around and ran herself for the land use board in her hometown (and won!). She also teaches shot put and discus technique to high school students on varsity track and field teams. She values being able to dedicate her time towards things that give her hope for the future.
Cassandra is determinedly making change in the Hudson Valley as Vice President of the Common Ground Farm Board of Directors; working to create food systems and foodways, sustainable sales channels for local producers, and towards greater food justice in the region.
And Phoebe loves being a Trustee of her local Library Board and gives her time to local political campaigns. She also volunteers at her children’s public school. Working to bring about positive local change brings her a renewed sense of community.
We’d love to hear how you benefit from your volunteerism! And if you have volunteer projects and opportunities going on, let us know…we’re happy to share them!
Link to research study:
Does Volunteering Make Us Happier, or Are Happier People More Likely to Volunteer? Addressing the Problem of Reverse Causality When Estimating the Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering