The very definition of volunteerism is to offer oneself for some service or undertaking, which sounds like the least selfish act possible. However, research has found that when you do good for others, there are plenty of perks in it for you, too. Read the list below to get inspired to lend a helping hand during National Volunteer Week (April 12-18).

Ten personal reasons to volunteer:

  1. You’ll feel great – When you donate to charity, the portion of your brain responsible for feeling rewarded is triggered and your brain releases feel-good chemicals that make you want to perform more kind acts.
  2. You’ll boost your self-esteem – People who volunteer have higher self-esteem due to greater feelings of social connectedness, and the more regularly you volunteer, the more confidence you’ll be able to cultivate.
  3. You’ll have stronger friendships – Helping others gives off positive vibes, which can rub off on your peers and improve your friendships since both parties will want to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
  4. You’ll become more optimistic – Performing acts of kindness improves your mood and ultimately makes you a more optimistic and positive person.
  5. You’ll feel empowered – Those who participate in volunteer work feel more empowered, with a richer sense of purpose, than those who do not.
  6. You’ll experience a sense of belonging – Helping individuals or groups creates a feeling of community, and face-to-face activities can help reduce loneliness and isolation.
  7. You’ll be less stressed out – Volunteering can lower your stress, clear your head, calm you down, and leave you feeling more at peace.
  8. You’ll appreciate life – Helping others gives you perspective on your own situation and teaches you to appreciate what you have through recognizing the blessings, gifts, and positive aspects in our lives.
  9. You’ll feel more like yourself – Volunteer work is a great way to get back to feeling like yourself after having a case of the blues, as it improves access to social and psychological resources that are known to counter negative moods.
  10. You’ll ignite a cycle of good deeds – Kindness is contagious! When we see someone else help another person it gives us a good feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something altruistic ourselves.

Interested in helping Kentucky Youth Advocates achieve our vision to make Kentucky the best place in America for children and youth? Sign up for our listserv so you stay up-to-date on ways to take action; become a child advocate; or make a financial contribution to our mission.

If you want to connect with volunteer opportunities at organizations that help children and families, check out the list of Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children partners. Many of these organizations need volunteers throughout the year, and you can reap the benefits of volunteering while supporting Kentucky kids!