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Benefits of volunteerism

Published: June 18, 2014 12:00 AM

With the


break approaching, students of all ages will discover more free time to explore recreation and self-expression and get involved in something new. Summer is an ideal time for students to consider the rewards of volunteerism -- and the benefits are plentiful.

In addition to helping youth fulfill required community service hours, volunteerism offers high school and college students, in particular, a chance to hone their social skills, boost self-confidence, enhance personal accountability and develop new skills that will help them in the workplace. Volunteering also has a positive impact on health. According to the UnitedHealth Group's 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, 76 percent of study participants who volunteered in the past 12 months said volunteering made them feel healthier, and 94 percent reported the act of volunteering improves their mood.

Crossroads Hospice welcomes student volunteers throughout the year. By donating as little as 45 minutes a week, students 16 years or older can become hospice volunteers and provide companionship to terminally ill patients by reading to them or playing cards. Activities may also include arts and crafts, music, office help, or Gift of a Day support. Volunteers determine how much time they are able to devote and the volunteer manager will match interests and schedules to create a win-win situation.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to start or continue a lifelong practice of giving back to the community. The impact is immediate and the rewards are long lasting.

Rebecca Clark, Volunteer Manager at Crossroads Hospice

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