PAY IT FORWARD: Hurting Heart? Volunteering Can Help Immensely

Volunteering Is Good For Our Hearts

 

As Hurricane Harvey devastates Texas, my heart hurts for all of those people and animals. I’ve donated, but did I do enough? Can I do more?

 

When Katrina rolled through Louisiana, people I consider family were displaced. We sent what we could and luckily, they all pulled through. One did lose his home, but family took him in so he could live the rest of his days with them. And as heartbreaking as it was, and is now, the way people pull together gives me hope.

 

How are we affected by volunteering?

 

Let’s face it, sometimes we can’t get out and go volunteer. We do have responsibilities, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t go somewhere to help. Maybe you can send a little money, or some necessary items that can help. A little money goes a long way! It all adds up and does make a difference.

 

But if you can get out and volunteer it has some benefits for you as well as those that you are helping. According to HelpGuide.org, volunteering has four major benefits to you.

First, it connects you to others. You can get to know your community and the people in it in a way you might not have been able to.
Secondly, it’s good for your mind and body. Volunteering can combat depression, and help you feel happy. It can counteract stress and anxiety, while you build self-confidence and feel a purpose. It may also decrease your mortality rate.
Third, it may help you advance your career. You may have skills that are valuable to organizations. Donating your time and skills helps you expand your horizons, make new contacts, and make a difference.
Fourth,  it can be fun and fulfilling. What do you enjoy doing? Are you a runner? Do you love kids or animals? Find and organization that speaks to that, and go for it.

 

What speaks to me

 

My husband and I have a few charities that really hit home for us. The first is the Arizona Weimaraner Rescue, or really, all animal rescue. AZWR is our local rescue, and where we adopted our two dogs, Raven and Jinx. The people are so hard-working and really go out of their way for the dogs. We have donated money, food, treats, toys, blankets, bowls, miscellaneous household items, and our time. I just recently made up some gift boxes to be auctioned off, and the proceeds went to the rescue. I’ve also wrapped presents for donations during the holidays. I’ve walked my dogs dressed in Santa suits to drum up interest. The people we have met have become great friends, and we got our sweet girls out of it.

 

Another charity that is important to us is the Navy SEAL Family Foundation. Both my husband and I have had family and friends that have served in the different branches of the military. I have the utmost respect for those willing to serve, and always try to show that. Carl has made some great friends that are SEALs, and often hosts them at baseball games to show appreciation. We’ve given money, and he also will ask players to sign balls and hats so they can be auctioned off for the Foundation.

 

This last charity I’m going to tell you about is through Carl’s work. The Giants Community Fund is the charity of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. They really do a lot to help the San Francisco community, and we all get involved. There was an auction where some of the players’ and coaches’ wives made up baskets of their husband’s favorite things. They also auctioned off experiences. I volunteered my husband, with his approval, for a training session with the Giants’ strength coach. Four people got together and donated a lot of money to workout with him for an hour at AT&T Park. They had a blast! And we helped a good cause.

 

What can you do?

 

The internet is a beautiful thing! You can easily find volunteer opportunities in your area just by typing in a search engine. You can also try VolunteerMatch.org. It will let you put in your city and state, and then narrow down based on what speaks to you in terms of volunteer opportunities.

 

What speaks to you? Where have you volunteered or donated? I’d love to hear from you and learn about other charities.

 

Bethany

Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.

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