Is 2012 the year for volunteering?
Volunteer Janie Robinson Johnson serves a plate of food to El Centro resident Lee Glass on Nov. 24 at a Thanksgiving Day lunch at The Salvation Army in El Centro. (ELIZABETH VARIN FILE PHOTO)
A study found that volunteers lived longer than others if they cited altruism or social connection need as the main reason to volunteer.
“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay,” study lead author Sara Konrath said.
As many begin looking inward while contemplating the new year, the new you in 2012 could include devoting more time to volunteering.
There are plenty of nonprofits in the Valley that can fit any personality whether one prefers to help the hungry, students, seniors, the environment or even furry friends.
El Centro Kiwanis Club President Theresa Robertson said she’s had a lot of fun volunteering with different Valley organizations such as House of Hope and the El Centro Police Activities League.
“That’s what the community is all about. I’ve just been helping, and I love it,” she said. “It’s self-satisfaction. I’d rather give than to receive any day.”
Elizabeth Enriquez-Phillips, American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter disaster services associate, said the volunteer-led organization has just under 100 volunteers in the Imperial County.
The volunteers are of all ages and backgrounds but share a desire to help others.
“It’s so much more than anything you can get anywhere else. It’s great to be able to help that family get back on the road to recovery,” she said. “Our volunteers have a sense of pride. They’re really happy and grateful to be there when no one else is for that family. It takes a dedicated person.”
A volunteer orientation will be held 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at the American Red Cross’ location at 781 Broadway in El Centro.
Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter interim Executive Director Gail Levin said there are many levels that people can volunteer at with area nonprofits.
Some people like to be involved with the behind-the-scenes planning of fundraisers while others like to participate in fundraising events. All of these forms of volunteering are integral to the success of a nonprofit, she said.
“Volunteers are our lifeline. I arrived at the Alzheimer’s Association as a volunteer, and I can’t imagine not having this experience,” she said. “It’s led to some wonderful friendships and wonderful skills. It’s an organization with great heart. The best thing you can do is get out of yourself and give.”
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org