Mindfully Kind Volunteering Pays Dividends
Experience Enhances Skills
Volunteer programs offer valuable free training in order to support you in becoming a skilled member of the team. This means basic training for volunteer fire fighters, medics, crisis-line operators, and search and rescue teams. In a survey carried out by TimeBank, among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses reported: 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without and 94% of employers believe that volunteering adds skills.
Free Passive Therapy
Altruistic volunteers who have found their favorite cause, experience a layered benefit. According to neuroscientist Dr. Alex Korb, Ph.D. and author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, says its possible to give your mind an upward spiral of small steps and actions that cause more experiences of joy. Hence, volunteering can become an affordable therapy for building contentment.
Commitment Proves Values
When employers see volunteer experience on a resume, they are more confident of you having strong values, being motivated and hardworking. In a study between 2002 – 2012, the Corporation for National and Community Service tracked 70,000 jobless people and found that those who volunteered had a 27% stronger chance of getting hired.
Connections Create Opportunities
Those who discover their volunteering passion, invariably end up expanding their social network of like minded people. This can mean valuable connections who are aware of your personality and work ethic possibly leading to a key referral for a future job, friendship, or a romantic partner opportunity.
Study Proving Health Benefits of Volunteering for Retired Adults
“Evidence is mounting that remaining active and engaged is beneficial as one ages, but our society has not developed approaches that support such activity for the broad spectrum of older adults,” says Fried. “That’s why we were eager to see if this program might work to provide such benefits.”
To test whether Experience Corps reduces key aging risk factors declines in physical, cognitive, and social activity a research team designed a two-year pilot study that compared 128 Experience Corps volunteers, ages 60 to 86, to a comparable control group.
Participants in the study volunteered at six Baltimore public schools, helping children in kindergarten to grade three. The volunteers were organized into teams and worked in the schools 15 hours per week, usually over three to four days. They were trained to help children improve their reading skills, to help pick out books, to solve problems and play cooperatively. A small stipend of $150 to $200 a month was offered to the volunteers to reimburse for expenses.
“44% of Experience Corps participants reported feeling stronger, compared with 18% of controls, and there was a 13% increase in those who reported their strength as very good to excellent.”
The investigators also found evidence for short-term change in health outcomes. Among them:
- At follow-up, 44 percent of Experience Corps participants reported feeling stronger, compared with 18 percent of controls, and there was a 13 percent increase in those who reported their strength as very good to excellent, versus a 30 percent decline among controls.
- Cane use decreased in 50 percent of users in the intervention group, compared with 20 percent in the control group. Falls also decreased.
- In terms of social activity, Experience Corps volunteers reported a significant increase, compared to a decline in the control group, in the number of people they felt they could turn to for help.
- In measuring cognitive benefit, the researchers say that increases in cognitive activities in the school were not offset by a decrease in book reading and other such mental activities at home in participants. TV viewing, considered the “most common low intensity activity,” declined by 4 percent in volunteers and increased by 18 percent in the control group.
While Experience Corps may be expensive for the short-term health improvements it offers volunteers, when potential benefits for students and possible long-term benefits are factored in, the program could be highly cost-effective, say Johns Hopkins researchers.
Mentor Kids With Kindfulness
Various programs exist to assist kids at various growth stages. Big Brothers Big Sisters meets the needs of at risk youth who come from low income or single parent families. There are programs just to visit with sick kids who are on extended stay at the hospital. Find out what programs exist in your town, or what volunteer opportunities are available within your local school district.
They are a variety of programs that offer many choices in supporting our elders. Meal delivery, driving support to and from doctor appointments, or friendly visits. Step into another era and hear about their best romances or how they survived raising seven children. Or listen in fascination to the kinds of favorite jobs they held, (for all you know, they are in fact one of the original Rockettes from Broadway.)
Bring Kindness To Visiting Our Elders
Addressing Economic Inequality
Various programs exist to prevent homelessness for low income families, such as Habitat For Humanity, and various programs serve the homeless such as shelters and feeding programs. The added value here is to experience the inside of this culture. People become homeless for so many reasons beyond their control; escaping abuse, rising costs & poverty wages, unresolved medical issues, LGBTQ youth that are rejected by their conservative families, unresolved PTSD from wartime trauma, or not being able to get work after prison release. It’s important to recognize how vulnerable we actually are by helping out in these parts of our community.
There are a variety of opportunities to work with animals in your area. The zoo and animal shelters need volunteers. Sometimes a neighbor with land and horses could use some help. Just because you may not be able to have pets, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to interact with animals on a part time basis. Ask around in your community to see what is possible.
Animal Shelter + Zoo
Emergency Back Up
Every community needs back up help for extreme circumstances. This is why we have search and rescue teams, crisis line support, volunteer fire fighters, and medics for special events. If you have an interest in being an emergency back up, look up your local departments to see what catches your interest and find out what volunteer positions are available.
Ready For Changes?
Being Mindfully Kind Can Permanently Upgrade The Way You Interact With Your Local & Global Community
The following resources represent the backstory of mindfully kind habits tested in maximum security prison, and six years of gathering the best international research towards making these principles accessible.
Hear the backstory of how Roy, a life sentence serving inmate met Doug, a retired university professor, and started the journey of testing mindful kindness under the severest circumstances. The history of abuse, retaliation and transcendence without physically leaving a maximum security prison is breath taking.
Learn More + Read An Excerpt
How Love Wins
Kindness is underestimated by many cultures, but mixed with certain qualities, it’s extremely powerful. In the research-based work of How Love Wins, Doug Carnine, PhD explains how fusing mindful kindness into everyday living has a profound upgrading effect to all you do and how you feel.
Learn More + Read An Excerpt