The Most Meaningful New Year’s Resolution You Can Make

meaningful New Year's resolutionAre you one of those people who vows to lose weight every New Year? Achieving a healthy weight is honorable for your health, but, there’s another resolution that would help you AND your entire community. This New Year, make your resolution a meaningful one!

A New Year’s Resolution to Volunteer More

The idea of changing the world might seem a little out of reach for many of us. Many people feel there is so much uncertainty with the world today… the health insurance landscape is a little scary, tax changes are coming and we wonder what that really means for us, etc. The one thing you can do is change your little part of the world. You truly can have a big impact on your immediate community, and volunteering is the way to do that.

Alex Andrews, Director of Volunteer Engagement for 9Health, offers this outlook, “Our world can frequently make us feel like we are just on-lookers or pawns that people in power are affecting in some way. Through volunteerism, any person can maintain some control and the ability to affect their community in a positive way.  Volunteerism is that grass-roots, direct way of seeing good deeds be done before your eyes.  It is such a powerful thing to witness a group of volunteers’ band-together for the greater-good.”

If you’re not sure where to start, a great website is VolunteerMatch. They can help you find an organization that matches the issues you’re most passionate about such as kids, education or homelessness, just to name a few.

Volunteering is a Health-Related New Year’s Resolution

It’s true. You just might reach some of your other New Year’s Resolutions when you make volunteering your New Year’s Resolution. According to a study by United Health Group:

  • Volunteers tend to feel better physically and mentally
  • They feel less stress
  • They feel a greater sense of purpose and are more connected to their communities
  • They’re more informed health care consumers, which means they’re more involved in taking care of their health

Harvard agrees. And on top of all of that listed above, they say volunteering can help you feel more socially connected, which can prevent feelings of loneliness and depression. And a study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that adults over the age of 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than their non-volunteering counterparts. And another study showed that those who volunteered were more likely to live longer.

Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people who care about the same issues you care about.  Or, you might even expand your network for career or education opportunities.  Some volunteers can learn new skills when they are giving back. Through 9Health’s ePrevent Diabetes Program, volunteers can become certified as Life Style Coaches.  That certification is theirs to keep and use for furthering volunteering or in a career.

“Fifteen years ago, a woman named Patty Oden asked Sadie Torrez (picture on the right) to help her start a 9Health Fair site for the following spring as the Non-Medical Coordinator. This was not the beginning of Sadie’s volunteer story; it began many years before, in 1998, when her husband and she got into volunteering with Maranatha Volunteers International. …Sadie believes in the 9Health Fair mission, especially because the Campion church has a big mission to help their members become healthy in their own lives. Sadie continued as Site Leader through the 2017 Spring 9Health Fair season and is now training Nelly, the new site leader, to take over, so that she and her husband can travel and volunteer all over the world.”

What is the Need?

Many non-profits have been struggling to find volunteers in recent years. It seems we all just keep getting busier. Many non-profits are aware that it’s becoming more difficult to find volunteers that have a lot of hours to offer. “This means that we need to alter our existing volunteer opportunities to meet their already busy schedules,” says Andrews. “We should simplify their duties and possibly have these tasks be virtual or remote volunteer opportunities, so they can give back from anywhere at any time.”

“We also see a need for more trained phlebotomists to help draw blood at all the fairs,” says Andrews. “We like to call these medical volunteers our ’bread and butter.’  We absolutely could not have a 9Health Fair run without the skills of these volunteers.  Most of our participants come to a 9Health Fair to have a Basic Blood Chemistry panel done.  Without trained phlebotomists, nurses, EMT’s, paramedics, or other medical professionals that can draw blood proficiently, we cannot offer this service to our participants.”

Don’t worry if you’re not a medical professional. There are also many non-medical volunteer opportunities with 9Health and with other non-profits across the state.

At the end of the year, most of us reflect and ask ourselves “How could I have done better?”  We offer this small piece of advice: Time and time again people have learned that it is better to give than to receive and we argue that the best way to give to others is to make it a lasting and impactful offering; through the gift of volunteering.