When you go to write out your New Year’s resolutions, volunteering may not come to mind right away – if at all. In fact, most people think about goals like healthier eating, exercise, sticking to a budget, and spending time with loved ones, which are all important. But whether you’re retired and looking for activities for retirees or jobs for retirees, a recent empty nester, or a career-minded 30-year-old resolving to begin volunteer work, this might just be the one resolution that you end up sticking with and getting the most from.
It’s obvious that volunteering helps the cause you choose to serve, but did you know it also helps you? The best volunteer jobs keep the brain active, boosting your mental health and giving you a positive outlook on life. To that end, serving others can prevent depression by giving you a sense of purpose in life and can actually lower blood pressure and improve health.
Furthermore, depending on the type of volunteering you choose to do, it can also give you a great outlet for physical activity. If you help paint a children’s shelter or participate in a fundraising 5K, you’re doing something positive for your mind and body. And lastly, the best volunteer jobs keep you socially connected to others of all ages. You’ll make new friends that care about the same causes you do and enjoy the rewards of making a difference together.
Places to Volunteer
Now that you might be eager to add volunteering to your New Year’s resolutions, where do you start? Here are a few places to volunteer in the Valley that can use your help:
- Foothills Animal Rescue – If you love animals, and want to make a real impact, FAR could be a great fit for you. With plenty of opportunities to foster pets or volunteer in another way (e.g. become a “cat cuddler!”), you can’t go wrong furthering this charity’s mission.
- The Fetch Foundation – This innovative organization was created to help first responders increase their ability to save pets in fires and other emergencies. They also help rescue organizations and shelters identify dogs that could be trained to become ‘search and service’ dogs or a therapy dog for veterans or people with disabilities. You can help by purchasing a “Fido bag,” volunteering to clean kennels or in numerous other ways.
- Foothills Food Bank – When it comes time for the holidays, there’s a part of our community that may not able to enjoy the season quite so much. For our neighbors in need, food banks like this one can use a lot of help coordinating donations, handing out food and more.
- Winged Hope – This Gilbert-based nonprofit provides resources and support to victims of family violence (including domestic violence and child abuse), and education to the community for prevention. This 100% volunteer-run organization also regularly revamps shelters and family advocacy centers and can use monetary donations as well as helping hands to accomplish it all.
- Desert Foothills Library – The only nonprofit public library in the Cave Creek area, this beautiful facility is always looking for community members to volunteer with them. Fill out an application and learn how you can help with their different programs and events.
- Salvation Army – Who doesn’t think of the holidays and the kind individuals in red vests who collect money for those in need? Those are Salvation Army volunteers, and you can be one too. Whether you help collect money outside of stores or volunteer in their storage areas or kitchens, your help is always welcome with this organization.
There are nearly endless opportunities for volunteer work in Phoenix and its surrounding areas. As long as you choose an organization that speaks to your heart, you will end up enjoying the best volunteer jobs and all the benefits that come with volunteering – and make a real difference in the community. So, get out that pen and start writing down your new, favorite resolution for 2019: volunteering!