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Op-ed: Helping others is a gift to oneself

By: Ruth Green

The act of volunteering can be thought of as putting others’ needs above your own. While there are many reasons to volunteer, the rewards are even greater.

Students, retirees and professionals volunteer because it enriches their lives, and making a commitment to help someone other than yourself is a great way to learn patience, compassion and tolerance.

As a student, volunteering is a great way to gain experience in a field you may be interested in pursuing as a college major such as nursing.

If you are interested in nursing as a career, you may benefit from offering your time and services to a nursing home.

My first volunteer experience was in a nursing home where I donated my time and services on a weekly basis.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), “Volunteers have higher odds of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers.”

Undoubtedly, being a volunteer teaches you first-hand knowledge, while providing hands on experience.

In a New York Times article, journalist Kerry Hannon discusses the role retirees play in the volunteering industry because “non-profit organizations depend on volunteers to make ends meet.”

Retirees volunteer because it gives them a sense of fulfillment in doing something worthwhile.

Do it to learn important life lessons, and not only because it is a course requirement, but it is a way to be creative.

Perhaps, there is a cause you are passionate about – you can create your own project for which to volunteer. It is a great way to meet people with similar interests.

I have enjoyed the challenges volunteering brings, the people I’ve met and the new and exciting things I’ve learned.

One of the great things about it is that while you are actively engaged in helping others, it takes your mind off of whatever problems you may be having.

It makes you happy, relieves stress, and most importantly it makes you feel good.

To me the most important thing I’ve learned is that helping others also helps me.

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