By the HELP Committee and Havre Public Schools for the Havre Daily News
Have you ever thought about volunteering your time to a local charity or community organization? There are many different reasons to start volunteering:
To help others
To learn about an activity or organization that interests you
To beat boredom
To overcome a loss you have experienced
To gain a new perspective on life
Your reasons for volunteering are as individual as you are, but no matter what your reasons you can get a lot out of volunteering. The following information will help you have a better understanding of how and why you should get involved in volunteering.
Why get involved?
It's good for you. Research has shown that people who volunteer have higher levels of self-esteem and social responsibility than those who don't. People feel productive when they see themselves as able to contribute to the community. We also know that youths who are active in their communities tend to be more engaged in school and interested in learning.
It makes the community a better place. The organizations that make use of volunteers are providing important services not only to the individuals they serve, but to the community as a whole. By helping them, we are improving our town. Cleaning a local park not only benefits the people who use the park, it makes our city a nicer place to live. Community service also strengthens bonds between individuals, both the volunteers and the people they are helping.
It helps the economy. The time we spend doing projects in our communities translates into dollars we don't have to spend. According to Andree Picard, author of "A Call to Alms," "The value of volunteer work to the economy is estimated at $12 billion a year contributing to the overall social and economic well-being of society." How much more would it be worth if we were all doing our part?
How can I get involved?
Decide what you want to do. There are many opportunities to serve out there, and you will be able to do your best if you're involved in activities that fit you and your family. Determine what your interests and skills are, decide how much time you and your family can spend volunteering, and then try to find an opportunity that works well for you.
Contact someone. We have several opportunities to serve right here in our area. Here are just a few to give you an idea:
Havre Food Bank - 265-2007
Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line - 265-6206
Salvation Army - 265-6411
Northern Montana Health Care - 262-1327
Northern Montana Care Center - 262-1327
You can also get involved in nationwide projects. A good place to start looking is on the Internet at www.americaspromise.org., where you will find ways to get involved in numerous projects that could include just you, your family or a group.
Follow through. Once you have decided on a project to take on, do it. It may be daunting at first, but once you get into it, you will find that being a volunteer is a very rewarding experience.
Whatever you choose to do, volunteering and community service benefit both the community and you. Get involved today.
For more information on volunteering or the advantages of volunteering, contact the HELP committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.