The secret to happiness and good health might seem shrouded in mystery, but according to science, it’s actually pretty simple. A 2013 study by Carnegie Mellon University, found that doing things to help others is the key to less stress, low blood pressure and reaching old age with your health intact.
Volunteering offers a wealth of opportunities to have the time of your life while helping your community. Want to hobnob with musicians at your favourite local music festival? Are you desperate to come face-to-face with compost worms at a community garden?
Here are some fun volunteer gigs that will deliver warm and fuzzy feelings along with the health benefits you’ll get from helping others. Check for organizations in your area to get involved.
Help Local Festivals
Want an insiders view of the best local festivals? Volunteer for one! Not only will you get free access to the festival, but you’ll also get a chance to give back and meet people who have the same interests as you do. Just be careful if you run in to the musical acts that you don’t fawn over them too much.
Build Homes for Families
Helping someone get a roof over their head can be inspiring and rewarding. That’s why it’s so meaningful to volunteer to build a house. If you’re concerned about your lack of construction skills – don’t worry! There will be professionals around making sure that the house won’t fall down just because you hammered a nail in wrong.
Clean Up a Natural Area
Can you believe that anyone would dump garbage into our local watersheds or natural areas? Put on your wellies and plastic gloves and get dirty restoring the land to its natural state. Remember to bring some friends – being knee-deep in mud is a great way to bond.
Plant a Seed
Do you know how to get the maximum tonnage of veggies out of a small zucchini plant? Is your green thumb so potent that plants flower when you look at them? Spend your time growing things in your community! Local community gardens or school gardens need help and gardening skills.
Think Local (Food)
Do you love local food and want to support farmers? Volunteer for a local farmer’s market. They often need people to cover booths, help with set up and take down, and promote special events. The best part? You can do your weekly shopping while on a break from your volunteer shift!
Change a Kid’s Life
They say that it takes a village to raise a child – choose to be part of that village and volunteer for local programs for underprivileged youth. They need you to play games, tutor, and read with kids. Whatever you end up doing – you’ll feel like a kid again and make an important difference in a child’s life.
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