Rachel Reese's blog

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Spring into Volunteering

It may not feel like it lately with snow falling earlier this week but Spring has finally arrived here in Fairfield County. At VolunteerSquare one of the things we love best about this season is a fresh crop of volunteer opportunities many of them outdoors. Shake off those winter blues and get out and enjoy the start of a new season by helping your community!

If your time is limited to a particular week, see if you can find one-day opportunities that will get you out to enjoy the great outdoors! For instance Earthplace in Westport is looking for helping hands repairing their outdoor kiosks and they need folks to spruce up some trails.

Spring cleaning is also on deck at many local nonprofits. In Stamford at Laurel House you can pop in for an afternoon to help sort and display donations at their thrift store. In Bridgeport the folks at LifeBridge need extra hands in their Community Closet. Or head to Darien and sign up for a shift or two at the Person-to-Person clothing center

Volunteering Does a Body Good

We all know giving back by volunteering is a fantastic way to support and care for your community. But it’s also good for you, too. It may help you shine in your career, find your next job, make new connections and friendships but what about your physical health? Isn’t the greatest wealth your health? Volunteering has that covered, too! Studies have shown that altruism and selflessness contribute to greater physical well-being. We’ve highlighted three benefits below.

1. Volunteering Can Improve Overall Physical Health

At Home in Darien

Just about everyone enjoys spending time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and other family elders but for many senior citizens without family nearby, isolation and loneliness can be constant challenges, particularly if they are homebound. Despite the colorful personalities and incredible personal stories this population has to share, it’s oftentimes a group in need that doesn’t get the attention many other do. One of our wonderful partner agencies aims to keep senior citizens engaged in the community and in their own homes as they age.

At Home in Darien is a nonprofit that helps Darien seniors live independently as part of the national aging in place movement to help seniors stay in their homes and the community as long as possible. The organization helps seniors maintain a sense of control and they say that control is the foundation for feelings of dignity and a certain quality of life and independence. The organization provides an array of services including transportation.

One of the key factors in the success of the program is the dedication of volunteers from the community. Executive Director Gina Blum says those volunteers are essential to making the program work.

“Our goal is to keep seniors connected to the community,” said Blum. “We couldn’t do that without our dedicated volunteers. Without them, we would not be able to successfully help Darien seniors remain living independently and comfortably at home as they age. We are truly grateful for that support.”

Volunteer for Your Career

In our “Volunteer For Your Career” series we at VolunteerSquare.com have talked about how you can apply your professional skill sets to volunteer opportunities. It’s worth noting that we’ve often discussed very specific, skill-focused roles such as accounting, web design and fundraising.

What if you fulfill a role not involving specific skills, but about coordination and management? There’s a place for everybody in a volunteer setting! Management and coordination are not activities that always fall under full time agency employees, and they often need help with managing multiple teams and groups of people. Here are just a few examples of recently posted opportunity from our own site:

Leap Into Volunteering!

At VolunteerSquare.com one of the most common refrains we hear from folks is that they just “don’t have the time” to volunteer. We get it. Life is hectic and there are always a lot of demands on our precious time. But this month we wanted to point out that there’s actually some extra time! That’s right – February has an “extra day” next week thanks to Leap Day!

Why not spend some of it volunteering or just searching for your perfect volunteer opportunity. There are countless ways you can get involved but we’ve pulled a few that just may pique your interest.

1) Enjoy this unseasonably warm weather by pitching in at Earthplace in Westport. They could use volunteers 18 and older to help spruce up their outdoor kiosk. Materials and tools are provided so you just need to bring your helping hands. The organization could also use help doing some grounds and trails maintenance and in the Animal Hall.

2) In Stamford, the folks at the Stamford Public Education Fund could use your help mentoring students enrolled in Stamford Public Schools. Mentors and mentees meet once a week for 40 minutes. Plus, you’ll get training and a workbook to help guide you.

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