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Letter to the Editor - July 18

July 18, 2012

Volunteering benefits are a two-way street


To the editor:

Research shows that while volunteers can have a huge impact on improving a community, they also receive many benefits.

Volunteering fills young children with a sense of purpose and a belief in their abilities to make a difference in their world. This belief empowers children and fosters a strong sense of self-esteem. For older children and teens, volunteering can help them determine areas of interest and help them discern what career paths they might want to pursue. 

Teens who volunteer tend to perform better academically, have stronger college applications and receive more scholarships than their non-volunteering peers.

For adults, volunteering can lead to new passions and spark career changes. Most importantly, volunteering can serve as the equivalent of a college internship for those that no longer attend college.

Like college interns, volunteers have the opportunity to build relationships with mentors, hone existing skills, master new areas of expertise, network with potential employers, demonstrate their abilities, develop leadership skills, strengthen resumes and collect letters of recommendation for future employment.  The only difference is college students pay to participate in internships and volunteers get the same experience for free! 

According to the Corporation of National Service, seniors who volunteer have a greater sense of purpose and more satisfaction in their daily lives.  Also reports have noted that senior volunteers are more active, have lower rates of depression and have better overall health than those who do not volunteer.

To find volunteer opportunities in Washington County, visit www.volunteerwashingtoncountymd.org. Volunteer Washington County will present to groups of 10 or more. If interested call 240-329-5282.


Bernadette Wagner
Hagerstown

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