Volunteering; benefit yourself and the community

Volunteering; benefit yourself and the community

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there”. - Anonymous

A phenomenon called “The Happiness Effect” shows a direct correlation between volunteering and happiness. Many studies have proven this effect. Most recently, the London School of Economics conducted a massive study that measured the happiness of a large group of American adults. Of these adults, the odds of being “very happy” rose by 7% among those who volunteered monthly and rose by 12% in those that volunteer every two to four weeks.

By taking some of your time to volunteer you not only help the community thrive but also benefit yourself in four major ways.

  1. Building relationships by connecting with others and making new friends.
  2. Improving your mental and physical health by moving, having conversation, and creating meaningful connections with others.
  3. Advancing your career by learning valuable job skills.
  4. Bringing fun and fulfillment to your life through exploring your passions and escaping your day to day routine.

These benefits bring you a sense of happiness that cannot be replicated through other activities.

Volunteer and Care Receiver Play a Game of Pool

Volunteer and Care Receiver Play a Game of Pool

FamilyMeans offers volunteer opportunities for everyone, no matter your age or experience. You can work alone or in small groups, doing things that you like with individuals in the community. Our most popular volunteer program is in-home respite. The goal of in-home respite is to give caregivers a break from caring for their child, spouse, or loved one to focus on themselves. Sarah Adams, FamilyMeans Social Worker says “Some of our caregivers have not had a break from their caregiving role in years…never underestimate the power of a couple of hours of respite; it is essential”! While you spend time with the care receiver, the caregiver can go to the grocery story, gym, or simply take a nap. While the caregiver is out doing these things, the volunteer stays with the care receiver to keep them company by playing a game, going for a walk, or doing another activity that both people enjoy.  Our volunteers do not provide any personal cares during this respite time, but rather provide the companionship and supervision for safety so that the caregiver can attend to his or her own needs with peace of mind.

Volunteers are encouraged to provide breaks two to four times a month for 2hr – 4hr increments. We place you with the same client each time so that you can build a relationship with them. Because of this relationship, that you will surely build, we ask that all volunteers commit to at least 3 months’ worth of visits. “With just a few hours of their time, volunteers deliver on our promise to help make life a little easier for the families we serve.” Sarah Gavin, FamilyMeans Social Worker.

Many people who start to volunteer with FamilyMeans begin to feel the effects of volunteering right away. As one volunteer puts it “I find so much joy in helping, I feel that I get back much more than what I put in”. Lorraine Weber, volunteer who has worked with FamilyMeans for over 26 years says “It’s the little things that make me feel so appreciated at Familymeans, everyone is so friendly, positive and helpful… I find volunteering fun and not a chore”.

If you are interested in learning more about FamilyMeans volunteer opportunities contact Dianne Vierling today at dvierling@familymeans.org or 651-789-4055. Help support our community and get back to happy.

Lorraine Weber at the 9th Annual Power of the Purse

Lorraine Weber at the 9th Annual Power of the Purse