Opinion: Volunteering does a world of good

Whether it's helping people on a personal level, or volunteering with an organization, do what you can to make a difference.
Photo by Juan Requena

KEARSTIN CANTRELL | Opinions Editor

Now more than ever, the world needs you to play your part in making our planet a better place to live.

With all of the natural disasters hitting the United States lately and all of the strife that constantly surrounds us, there’s no time to sit on the bench and watch everyone else play their roles as helpful global citizens.

There are plenty of opportunities at your fingertips to make an impact of the lives of others locally, nationally and globally. There are also opportunities to play your part in making the world a better place no matter what your interests are.

Help is wanted on a volunteer basis across the country and in St. Charles. You just have to find your niche.
Graphic by Kearstin Cantrell

Love children? Spend some time at a disadvantaged children’s center. Youth in Need is a great children’s organization in the St. Louis area. There’s even a site less than a mile from campus. If you want to get involved, call Cody Finan at 636-757-9334.

Want to spend more time with animals? There are animal shelters all over the place that would love some helping hands. For example, All Paws Rescue in O’Fallon is a shelter that offers volunteer opportunities. All you have to do is apply to volunteer on their website.

Do you have a soft spot for the homeless? Check out Gateway 180. Gateway 180 serves as a homeless shelter in St. Louis. They make sure that everyone who comes through their door gets clean clothes, a meal and somewhere to stay. If you’d like to become part of their team, all you have to do is head over to their website to apply to volunteer. 

Want to help out globally and on a more long-term basis? Check out the Peace Corps. As a matter of fact, we have a Peace Corps ambassador on campus. Shoot an email to Abby Lewis at  arl987@lindenwood.edu.

There’s nothing quite like knowing that you’ve affected the life of another person (or animal if that’s your thing). It gives you a sense of meaning, belonging and self-esteem. If you don’t believe me, ask the professionals.

Psychologytoday.com says that “volunteering is associated with lower depression, increased well-being, and a 22% reduction in the later risk of dying.”

Mentalfloss.com also reports that a study of 2,000 participants over the course of five years made it evident that Americans who spent an average of 5.8 hours volunteering each month described themselves as “very happy.”

From personal experience I can tell you that the professionals are right. Giving back to society has immeasurable benefits. Get involved and find out for yourself.

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