National Volunteer Week: Inspiring Health and Community Engagement

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It’s National Volunteer Week! A time when the world comes together to lend a helping hand. Get ready to join the wave of goodwill in your community, making a difference while also benefiting yourself. Let’s explore the impact of volunteering on your health and the world around you.

The Health Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering is good for you. Not just in a feel-good way, but in terms of your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that volunteering can reduce stress levels, increase happiness and even lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s a great way to stay active and get some exercise!

Physical Activity and Mental Well-Being

Volunteering can feel like a sprint, literally. Ever pitched in for a charity run? It’s a cardio workout! Even without sneakers, many volunteer activities keep you moving — gardening, community events, or helping at an animal shelter (cue puppy therapy). It’s not just physical; the mental boost is real. Helping others can reduce stress, lift your mood and fight depression.

Social Connections and Sense of Purpose

The social connections you create through volunteering form a supportive network that impacts all areas of your life. Building relationships based on shared values and goals is vital for mental health and longevity. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose, fulfilling a deeper need while reminding you that you and your actions are significant.

Community Impact of Volunteering

Volunteering isn’t just for personal gain; it’s the heart of community growth. In a digital world, showing up is powerful. By volunteering, you can help shape a community that’s engaged, supportive and vibrant. You become part of a movement for a united society. Address community needs by volunteering in health fairs, clinics, or mentoring. Volunteers are the foundation of community health!

Engagement Ideas for National Volunteer Week

Now that we’re feeling all pumped up about giving back, how do we actually do it?

Virtual Volunteering Opportunities

Not all superheroes wear capes, and not all volunteers even have to leave their living room. Virtual volunteering is an amazing option for those with busy schedules or mobility challenges. From online mentoring programs to social media advocacy for causes you believe in, the digital sphere is your volunteering oyster.

Local Community Service Projects

Then there’s the good old-fashioned get-out-there-and-make-a-difference kind of volunteering. Local soup kitchens, neighborhood clean-ups, or joining a community garden are just a few of the countless opportunities where your help can be put to good use. Can you feel the sense of fulfillment just thinking about it?

Looking for a local volunteer gig but not sure where to start? Start by looking on social media platforms or websites dedicated to community service. Local community centers, churches and schools are great places to look as well. And don’t forget to tap into the grapevine – friends, family or coworkers might have the scoop on where help is most needed. Get out there, and you’ll be making a difference (and probably some new friends) in no time!


National Volunteer Week is more than a reminder to offer your time. It’s an invitation to transform your health and your community. It’s about recognizing joy, connection and purpose that are part of giving back. Will you miss out on the chance to be part of it? I hope not. Go forth, my friends, and volunteer. It’s time to make the world a better place, starting with your corner of it. And who knows? You might just find your own life a little better for it, too.

Cassie Story Headshot
Cassie Story Headshot

About the Author:
Cassie I. Story, RDN, is a dietitian who has been working with surgical and non-surgical weight-loss patients for the past 15 years. She also educates other healthcare professionals about the unique nutrition needs of weight-loss surgery patients. She has her own food blog, www.WLSDailyPlate.com, which provides recipe inspiration for all members of the family – including those who have had bariatric surgery. She enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time outdoors with her two daughters in Arizona.

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