Aristotle is credited with saying, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” Washington State is ranked 16th among the 50 states and Washington DC for volunteers, that means that 30.6% of Washingtonians, or 1,644,364 volunteers. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 198.62 million hours of service were volunteered, totaling $5,000,000,000.00 of service that were contributed in 2015.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. Experts have documents that when one focuses on someone other than one’s self, it interrupts daily tension-producing patterns, it also has been proven to make an individual healthier, moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, helps control over one’s fate while strengthening the immune system.

Volunteering also provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements instead of hiring needed labor to complete a task. The estimated value of a volunteer’s time according to the Corporation for National & Community Service is $28.32 per hour.

Understanding community needs will help foster empathy and self-fulfillment. Volunteering strengthens the community in many avenues, it can support families, improve schools, support youth and even, allows one to help beautify the community.

The greatest aspect of volunteering is that one can learn new ideas, tasks, or even different approaches to solving problems if one is willing. It is easy to say, we haven’t done it that way before, or even why change. Learning new approaches is vital to keeping our little gray cells active, as Agatha Christie character Hercule Poirot says, “…without the constant stimulation, my little gray cells will starve and die!”

Volunteers can discover hidden talents that may change one’s view on self-worth. Through working with local non-profit agencies, volunteers can learn about the critical functions and operations of one’s own village or even your local HOA. Helping with various projects, volunteers can gain knowledge of local resources that may be available to solve other community needs on other projects

While volunteering for a cause, it is important to volunteer from the heart, not because it is a forced obligation to “serve your time.” It is critical for everyone involved to give one’s best simply because one’s name is associated with the activity, which is invaluable.  More is at stake when one’s heart isn’t in the process, and one can cause more damage than intended.

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering is that volunteerism is an investment in one’s community and the people who live in it, helping you neighbors, your village, or the county, will make a substantial difference, not only for one’s self but the benefit of everyone. It is important to remember, every person counts!