Volunteering offers real health benefits

Happy New Year! Many of us have made a resolution to improve our health in 2012. We know how important a healthy diet and regular exercise are to our physical and mental well-being. Something that may come as new health information to you is how “volunteering” offers benefits to health!

Our Compeer volunteers are always telling us how much they enjoy the time they spend offering friendship to people that need it in order to recover from mental illness. Since these reports are so common I went and did a little online research to find the health benefits of being a volunteer. I found an article written by a chapter of the American Red Cross entitled, “Be Happy, Be Healthy: The Health Benefits of Volunteering.”

The article quotes Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation Office of Research and Policy Development for the Corporation for National and Community Service: “Those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not – even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender and ethnicity.” It appears that volunteering is a strong factor in promoting a longer life for any individual!

Other research cited in the article demonstrated that “people who volunteer 100 hours of service per year can achieve healthier, happier lives than those who do not.” Listed are the natural health benefits received including:

  • Reduced risk for depression
  • Greater functional ability later in life
  • Increased sense of accomplishment and purpose
  • Less incidence of heart disease

Our Compeer Program wants to offer the adults in our community an opportunity to improve their health! Compeer needs adult volunteers to provide friendship in various ways. We need men and women that can make weekly phone calls and be a friend. We need volunteers to become matched, one to one, with a same-gender adult for getting together to enjoy a walk, a meal and a chat. Volunteers are needed to attend our social activities to provide additional caring ears and encouragement.

Our office provides ongoing support to all of our volunteers via phone, in person and by email. Compeer volunteers are asked to offer only friendship. Volunteers are never asked to be a counselor, never asked to manage a crisis and not expected to solve problems. We are looking for caring adults that enjoy socializing and conversation. 

Compeer also takes the stress out of volunteering! All volunteers make their own volunteering schedule.

In 2012 consider increasing your social circle, making friends and improving your health by volunteering for Compeer!

Contact Denise Ayres at 440-835-6212, ext. 242, or email compeer@farwestcenter.com. You can also drop by Far West Center for information. Far West Center is located at 29133 Health Campus Drive in Westlake. It is building 4 on the St. John Medical Center Health Campus.

Denise Ayres

The Compeer Program has been serving adults that are managing mental illness from our Far West Center office fo almost 21 years.

Read More on Community Service
Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:37 PM, 01.10.2012