The Canadian volunteer sector has certainly been impacted over the last 12 months. Stats can suggest three significant shifts:
- Finding opportunities to volunteer has become more challenging. Hospitals, religious organizations, sports, and recreation benefit the most from volunteers, but many of these programs, events and roles have been suspended or cancelled since March 2020.
- Older adults are more likely to volunteer significant amounts of time each week, but they are also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and therefore have been staying home.
- And lastly, there has been growth in informal volunteering. More individuals are directly assisting others, such as picking-up and dropping-off groceries, neighbourhood initiatives, cooking meals or sewing non-medical masks.
You may need to be more creative in finding opportunities, but we know that serving others is a powerful form of self-care.
Combat stress, anger & anxiety. Meaningful connection to another person, working with animals, spending time outdoors and growing your support system can improve mood, lower risk for depression and relieve stress.
Increase happiness. Volunteers will describe the “helper’s high” or that “it feels good” – there is a euphoric rush that releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers when you help others.
Increase physical activity. Movement is a natural part of many volunteer opportunities. Whether you are visiting a senior, packing goods at a food bank, planting trees or raising funds by walking or running.
Find a sense of belonging. The human need to belong is fierce. Dedicating your time to serve the greater good provides a clear purpose and place to belong. It will also help you expand your social & professional networks.
Explore Volunteer Opportunities:
Other ways to support community agencies:
- Sign up for their newsletters.
- Follow and engage with your favourite agencies on social media.
Build your volunteer capacity through personal development.
- Read books, take an online personality/leadership quiz online.
- Follow inspiring advocates & leaders on social media.
- Join virtual conferences & workshops.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger