It comes as no surprise that volunteering, the altruistic activity where an individual freely gives their time to help others, significantly improves the health and well-being of those assisting. While the obvious goal is to help others, whether it be a person in need, a worthwhile cause, or the community as a whole, studies have shown that American adults who volunteer feel physically healthier, experience reduced levels of stress, and are more deeply connected to their communities.
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine took a closer look at the mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteer work. The findings showed that among older adults, volunteerism enriches personal lives by strengthening our bonds to others, increases our sense of purpose, and alleviates feelings of loneliness, depression, and hopelessness. With numerous volunteer opportunities available, it is crucial to consider what cause you want to support and be a part of.
Ski Resorts offer a variety of ways to contribute to charitable causes, such as volunteer ski patrol, host, instructor, and adaptive recreation programs. For those of us who are passionate about skiing and snowboarding, it is the perfect volunteer opportunity. Programs, such as the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), encourage people with varying disabilities to not only partake in therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports but to push their boundaries and reach new heights beyond physical limitations. The program currently provides 17 different adaptive activities, serves 3,200 participants each year, and offers more than 15,000 lessons for people with disabilities.
At this particular moment in history, our society, as well as the environment, needs help and services from community members now more than ever. By contributing your voice, opinions, and actions, damages to our societal structures and the planet we live on can, with hope, be reversed. There are many ways in which you can contribute by reaching out to your local community to access volunteer opportunities.