Why volunteering should be your New Year's resolution

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It’s almost time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. From getting fitter to learning a new skill, Canadians across the country will be making resolutions heading into 2016, even though approximately 40% of them will break give up before January is over.

To make those resolutions easier to achieve, maybe it’s time we stopped thinking about ourselves and started thinking about what we can do for our community. To help get you started, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver has a few reasons why volunteering should be your New Year’s resolution for 2016.

3 reasons to volunteer

1. Be more productive at work

Focusing on something else outside of your daily work routine is a great way to relieve stress and gain perspective. Time spent volunteering allows you to come back to the workplace with a more positive attitude and a fresh mind. Volunteers in the Big Brothers’ In-School Mentoring Program will tell you that they feel an increased level of productivity at work after hanging out with a child for just one hour a week. Who knew having fun and swinging on monkey bars could help you at work?

2. Gain a sense of belonging in your community

According to Statistics Canada, four in 10 Canadians volunteered in 2013. That’s 12.7 million Canadians actively contributing to the wellbeing of their communities. Research suggests that when diverse groups of people come together to volunteer or work on a common objective or cause – it contributes to ‘social cohesion.’

The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement claims that volunteer involvement promotes civic engagement and active participation in shaping the society we want. Not only will you be doing your civic duty, you’ll be inspiring the next generation to engage with their community as well.

3. Be happier

Doing things for others not only benefits them, it also benefits you – rewarding you with the personal satisfaction from knowing you’re making a difference in a child’s life. One of the most common reasons why mentors with Big Brothers enjoy volunteering is that they get to be a kid again. For an hour each week, they can let go of stress and just have fun.

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Image: Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

2 ways to stick to it

1. Choose a meaningful volunteer opportunity

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available in the community, but it’s important to select one that you are passionate about. Choose an opportunity that you will be motivated to pursue, and look forward to. Doing something you actually like to do makes it a lot easier to commit.

81% of volunteers who serve as mentors with Big Brothers find being a mentor more rewarding then other volunteer opportunities.

2. Make sure it suits your schedule

We end up breaking a lot of our New Year resolutions because they are ultimately unrealistic and do not fit in with our everyday lives.

Be prepared with the kind of time you are willing to give. If the volunteer opportunity fits with your schedule, there is a higher chance you will stay committed. Ditch the TV and opt to help a child who needs a friend instead.

Organizations like Big Brothers offer different programs for men and women with varied time commitments – like their school-based programs which only require one hour per week. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering, there are hundreds of kids who could benefit from a mentor. Contact Big Brothers at 604-876-2447 x236 or apply to become a mentor at bigbrothersvancouver.com.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver’s volunteer recruitment campaign is proudly supported by Manulife Financial.

 

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