Volunteering makes us better
By Jenn Watt
Published Oct. 18 ,2016
This weekend is the Volunteer and Wellness Fair in Haliburton, combining the Lions Club wellness event and the volunteer fair, and for those with a bit of spare time and an urge to dig into the community this is the perfect event to check out.
Rural areas require more creativity when it comes to entertainment and social activities. When you want something done, you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and make it happen. And if you want to feel closer to this place, volunteering can help with that.
We all know how crucial volunteers are to making this place special.
Theatre and film showings, hospital equipment, dental services for low-income adults, international aid, community centres, art galleries, ski trails, hockey programs, high school awards, and food banks all run on volunteer labour, just to name a few.
Clearly, volunteers make the community better, but volunteering itself brings its own benefits.
It makes you happier, it provides a social connection, it looks great on a resume, it broadens your horizons and, as a fantastic side effect, it makes the world better.
Researchers have examined the benefits of giving your time for the greater good and found plenty of evidence of positive outcomes for volunteers.
One study by the London School of Economics found the chances people would report being very happy went up 12 per cent for those volunteering every other week and 16 per cent for weekly volunteers.
Of course, as with all good things, there are pitfalls to avoid. We all know the uber volunteers who burn out from saying “yes” when they should say “no.” And then there are volunteering opportunities that just don’t match with the individual. Or the organization that doesn’t have a schedule that suits a particular volunteer’s lifestyle.
Which is why this weekend’s fair is ideal for anyone toying with the idea of getting out there and helping. Representatives from all sorts of organizations can discuss with you just what your help would mean to them and you can decide whether their culture, needs and schedule works for you.
In the time I’ve been volunteering in Haliburton County I’ve met some of this community’s most interesting, committed, warm-hearted people. I’ve been able to use skills I have to make changes that are meaningful to me, and that have made a difference to others. And I’ve learned a lot along the way. Without a doubt it has made me happier and, I hope, made others happier in turn.
If you’re thinking about helping out in your community, head over to the high school on Saturday and find that perfect fit. Check out the listing on page 26.