This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are my own.
Communities take all forms, shapes, and sizes. They can be made up of a geographical area or a gathering of like-minded citizens. Your community is all around you; it may be your neighborhood, your children’s school, your place of worship, or your local government. Opportunities for donating or volunteering in the community are virtually unlimited, and can be fulfilled by individuals who possess a wide range of skills.
It’s been said many times and many ways, but the best part of giving is receiving. When you give back to your community, whether in the form of monetary donations, goods, or your time, you may feel blessed to a degree greater than your gift. Read on for a few reasons to get inspired to give.
Paying it Forward
If you or a family member has ever experienced a period in life when help from strangers was received on a regular basis, you may feel the need to help someone else in return. Commonly referred to as “paying it forward,” giving to the community in this way feels great, and can set a good example for others to follow. Examples may include individuals who have recovered from an addiction, fought their way out of poverty, or lost a loved one in a traumatic way. Often, people who are still working through grief find healing when they help others.
Personal and Professional Growth
Giving back to the community can help you grow in several ways. In addition to gaining understanding and empathy, you may learn valuable new skills. The best way to do this is by giving your time and talent, especially in a field that interests you professionally. Aspiring accountants may give a few bookkeeping hours each week to a non-profit organization, or parents who volunteer in their children’s classrooms may find themselves yearning for a teaching career.
Along with learning a new skill, volunteers in the community have opportunities to learn about the functions of government, gain knowledge of local resources, and hone their people skills, such as teamwork and leadership. Many volunteers find themselves earnestly looking forward to their time of service.
Physical and Emotional Well-Being
Believe it or not, giving back to the community is actually good for your health. Studies show that by performing deeds of service a person can interrupt patterns that produce tension, thus reducing stress. By setting aside one’s own worries and focusing on another’s, many individuals come to the realization that their life is better than they thought it was. This leads to an overall sense of balance and happiness, and allows a person to be mentally healthy.
It has been realized by experts that happy, healthy persons have a higher resistance to illness and disease, so by giving yourself to others, you can actually strengthen yourself. Having an optimistic outlook and emotional vitality can not only help ward off the common cold, it can actually diminish one’s chances of serious illness, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Communities are Stronger
In communities where the citizens or members are involved, there is often a closer bond among them. Simply knowing that your neighbors exist isn’t enough to foster relationships and improvements. Rather, knowing their needs and helping to meet those needs will draw people closer together. This is played out over and over again in times of natural disaster, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and mudslides.
Ideally, a community should be a strong and caring place at all times, even when the sun is shining. A strong, vibrant community can pool its talent and make an impact not only on its own members, but on the world at large. Programs that feature music and art can help underprivileged families gain a broader world view, community clean-up days can make a town look inviting to visitors, and food banks can help ensure that everyone receives adequate nutrition.
Resources are Saved
When the population pitches in, the government agencies that provide services to them are able to conserve resources. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, over 25% of United States residents volunteer. They collectively give 7.9 billion hours of service, which totals a value of $184 billion worth of service hours. Additionally, over half of the nation’s residents donate $25 or more to charity annually. With numbers like these, it is easy to imagine the impact on communities when people give. Philanthropists like Eugene Chrinian believe that citizens who give to the community have a positive influence worldwide.
By giving back to the community, individuals may realize that the needs of others are as great as or greater than their own. Achieving a sense of balance in life is a healthy goal, and giving freely of one’s resources to those in need is an important step in meeting that goal. By donating time, talent, goods, or cash, residents can create happy and healthy communities.