When volunteering the obvious reason and benefit is aiding others but there are so many other benefits to volunteering that many people do not think about. At Frederick Foot & Ankle we do more than just feet. Some of the organizations that we contribute to are the Heartly House, Frederick County Humane Society, American Cancer Society, LOUYAA Baseball, Spring Ridge Elementary School, and the Beth Sholom Congregation. It feels great to be a part of a company that is so invested in their neighborhood.
Gaining new experiences and learning new tasks: When volunteering, typically your time is spent doing something different from your everyday life. You may work in an office for your primary job, but when you volunteer you could be assisting those with disabilities to ride horses as a type of physical therapy. Caring for horses and helping others ride is a great experience that you may have never been taught otherwise.
If you are interested in being a side aid for therapeutic horseback riding visit http://www.chtr.org/frames.html
Meeting new people: Not only do you meet the people you are assisting in your volunteering adventures, but you get to know the people you are working next to, as well. You may not have something in common with your new co-volunteers, but that is half of the fun! Someone who works at a marketing firm accross town could become your new best friend. If you find it difficult initiating conversation with new people, just remember that you already have one thing in common; you are both volunteering together. Just for starters you can ask your new acquaintance “How did you get involved with Big Brother Big Sister?”
If you want to be a “Big” to someone in your community follow the website to http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm
Makes you less stressed: Throughout most of the day we perform tasks because it is our job. Volunteering can be an escape from your daily routine. You can focus on others, have a new social outlet, and have a little bit of fun. All of these things can lead to a more calming day.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University support this Zen feeling after finding a correlation between adults that contributed a minimum of 200 hours per year volunteering were 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not volunteer.
For an even more zen exprience join this do-gooder yoga squad http://yogamour.org/frederick-yoga/
Have a positive experience: Sometimes we highlight the bad things that have happened in our lives; we got a speeding ticket or it rained during our party when really we should be thinking we have a car and we are lucky enough to be able to host a party. When volunteering, just like yourself, the other volunteers are there because they want to be there and they want to use their talents and free time to make someone else’s day easier.
Give you a sense of purpose: When you give your time to help others you have a sense of fulfilment and purpose. I have a friend who donates blood regularly. This particular friend has a rare blood type and gets called by the donation bank when they are running low of that particular type. This friend now feels a responsibility to the patient’s that are in need of her particular blood type and will donate whenever she gets a call.
To search for volunteer oportunities with the Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer#step1
Put your skills to good use for those that will really appreciate it: If you enjoy what you do for a living or feel that you are particularly good at it, there is always a way you can donate your fine-tuned skills. For example many athletes become coaches to pass on their knowledge of the sport to beginners. I have even heard of a photographer that used her skills to give dogs a better profile pictures on adoption websites and it worked! The dogs were getting adopted quicker and to “forever home”. Check out some of the pictures of the pooches here at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/21/one-picture-saves-a-life_n_4810738.html
Keeps you active in the community: Many times when you travel the same path every week you become unaware of all the other things that are happening right in your own community. After you begin donating your time you might become more aware of the needs, weaknesses, and strengths of your own neighborhood.
Frederick has their own volunteer matching website to help find a good fit between the individual and an organization, try it out for yourself at http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/filters/?l=Frederick,%20MD&showMessage=INACTIVE_OPP. Or if you want to volunteer directly for the city find information at this website https://www.cityoffrederick.com/index.aspx?nid=191
Doubles as exercise: there are so many projects that are completed by volunteers that include being active. One well know organization that keeps their volunteers moving is Habitat for Humanity. This organization helps revamp homes for those that couldn’t otherwise afford it.
Habititat for Humanity is helping houses right in Frederick find out how you can contribute by learning about their organization online at http://www.frederickhabitat.org/
I hope I have inspired some of you to want to get out in the community and lend a helping hand! Below from left to right is Su Kim, myself, and Kevin Wu at an event in FSK mall spreading podiatry news to Frederick.
By: Nikki Ho