Synter Resource Group The Greater Charleston First Tee Organization

Organization Spotlight: The Greater Charleston First Tee Organization

At Synter Resource Group, we love to support local chapters of nonprofit organizations.  We care about our community and love to give back each year.

One such organization that our employees have the privilege of working with each year is The Greater Charleston First Tee Organization (GCFTO).  The GCFTO boasts this mission:

“To positively impact the lives of our local youth by providing
structured 
educational programs that build character, instill life
enhancing values, and 
promote healthy choices through
the game of golf.”

With this mission in place, the GCFTO reaches:

  • “700+ youth each year with [their] Core Values and character building life skills [and]
  • “31 elementary schools in Charleston and Berkeley counties enrolled in [their] National School Program where over 13,000 local students learn golf and life skills every year.

The GCFTO multiplies their efforts by partnering together with other nonprofits, such as the City of Charleston Recreation department, the Special Olympics, Wings for Kids, Lowcountry Autism, and the YMCA.

On top of all this great work, the GCFTO leads youth to the beat of their “Nine Healthy Habits” drum.  Instilling these healthy habits in First Tee youth deeply impacts their immediate and long-term futures.

Physical Health: Energy, Play, and Safety

The only way to live a healthy life is to use the energy your body has to make choices and take action.  All humans gain energy through drinking and eating, and so, it is imperative to the GCFTO that their child-golfers understand how to consume the best drinks and food for them. The organization teaches children to drink and eat food that nourishes their bodies, giving them healthy and optimal energy levels.  Without energy, no one can play! Play gives children the ability to make social connections, be happy about exercising, and sustain impeccable musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health.  With the proper safety precautions, a child can learn to use their energy to play in a way that makes everyone involved happy and healthy.

Emotional Health: Vision, Mind, and Family

Kids learn to create an internal vision for their future by learning golf and character-building skills.  Keeping this vision in mind empowers children to sculpt their logic, encourage deep thought, and problem-solve on their own.  By incorporating family into this game of golf, family structures and relationships thrive; the entire family is statistically more likely to be healthy when this happens!

Social Health: Friends, School, and Community

By golfing together, children are given the opportunity to have a given icebreaker when meeting other youth in the GCFTO’s programs.  There is an immediate common ground where kids can feel comfortable conversing with their peers.  With this in place, they can develop friendships easier, learn to deal with tough interpersonal situations, and grow in their role as a community member. When children are happy outside of school, they do better in school.  When children succeed in school, they are more likely to give back to their communities in a way that is meaningful to them and their neighbors.

19-25 Synter Resource Group Adults Meaningful Relationships Through Volunteering

How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages 19-25

We’re back with “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships!”

In the first section on ages birth to twelve, we discussed how having a child dependent on you in any capacity while volunteering can bring happiness, humility, acceptance, and a sense of purpose to your life.

In the second section, we discuss how interacting with children, ages thirteen to eighteen, can develop unique perspectives you may have once forgotten or even blocked out from when you are young.  This can teach you to be accepting and compassionate towards others and, simultaneously, comforting the inner teenager in you.

In this section, we discuss how interacting with people, ages 19-25, can teach you to continually learn, grow as a person, and take big risks for greater life satisfaction.

People in the age range between nineteen to twenty-five are a curious and active bunch.  They start to realize what it means to be an active member of society, what it means to have bills for the first time, if they have not had that already, and what it means to be a responsible person.

In order to learn how adults can bond with people of this age in such a manner that brings deep meaning and happiness to your life, it’s important to have a walk in their shoes to understand who they are and why they do the things they do.

Roughly Assessing Their Situation

As in the last section, numerous people in this age range are in some form of schooling.  From Doctoral degree programs all the way down to two-year tech. schools, these students range from the top performing valedictorians to students needing to stop studying altogether.  There are also people who are not in school at all during this time.  They may be working full-time, part-time, or on some form of disability.  There are all different types of people this age, doing all different types of things.  What we can know, however, is that all of them, on some level, are seeing the world in a much broader and less judgmental way than their younger years.

Many times, people of this age are involved in a lot of different hobbies, clubs, or communities, looking to find their highly-specific niche in the world.  These experiences may be more shallow in nature, but not in the derogatory way.  They are looking to find what it is they are passionate about.  Once they do find their niche, that is when they dive deep and let go of their extraneous interests.  They start developing relationships with other people in a more consistent and stable way, keeping friends for much longer than their younger counterparts.

Now that you have a slight understanding of where many of these people are in life and what they are thinking about and doing, you can more accurately see how these people can bring great joy and purpose to your life.

The Joy of Mutual Respect and Understanding

Volunteering with anyone, let alone people of this age group, can be incredibly rewarding.

Volunteering with this age group can provide you with the opportunity to see the world through an adventure-seeking eye.  These people are interested in taking their new found depth of independence to heart and are looking for fun, captivating, meaningful, authentic, and fulfilling experiences.  Being able to see the world anew from such a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed perspective can make you grateful for all that you are, or once were, passionate about.

You may assume once more the things that once brought you great pleasure with a rejuvenated energy that may have slowly flickered out of your energy stores.  You can learn from their ability to volunteer in a way that is from the perspective of a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge and experiences they can get to find out how impactful they are.  You can siphon off some of their energy and passion into your life, providing you with more than you ever expected by simply volunteering.

Volunteering for this age group can show you have powerful it can be to influence people for the good, especially if you slightly older or much older than them.  Showing them what it means to be responsible and still have fun and enjoy life can leave you feeling the receiving end of looking at someone as a role model.

Looking for deeper relationships with people overflowing with desires and curiosity to renew you once more? Volunteer for or with this age group.

13-18 Synter Resource Group

How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages 13-18

We’re back with “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships!”

Birth to 12 | In the first section on ages birth to twelve, we discussed how having a child dependent on you in any capacity while volunteering can bring happiness, humility, acceptance, and a sense of purpose to your life.

Ages 13-18 | In this section, we discuss how interacting with children, ages thirteen to eighteen, can develop unique and mutually beneficial relationships in your life.

Think of the average teenager in America.  Many of them are in a school of some kind throughout the duration of their teenage years, and, towards the end of their teens, they may enroll in college, take a gap year, or start working full or part time.  All of these scenarios point to one large idea, however.  Children, ages 13-18, are, for the most part, being educated during this time in their lives.

Many teenagers find these years to be amazing, awkward, fun, exhausting, inspirational, or some combination of those.  They learn not only about various subject matters for school, but they also learn about themselves on a whole new level.  Trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in is an incredibly difficult task.  When you think about these concepts and even remember your own teenage years, you can see that, as an adult, their strengths and weaknesses need adults’ support to truly flourish.  You can encourage them, offer them advice, or even be a shoulder to cry on when they need it.  You can truly help them even simply by being in their presence so they can look up to you.  Regardless of the amount of time you spend with them, you can in some way or another help them trek through the murky landscape that is the teenage life.

If you could go back and tell your teenage self all the wisdom you picked up along the way up until now, what would you say? We all know, unfortunately, that time travel doesn’t exist.  So, instead of regretting some of the mistakes you made or the heartache you endured, why not take the time to tell other people who are teens now what you wish someone would have told you when you were younger?

Think of all the people who made profound impacts on your life when you were a teen.  Didn’t most of those people care for you in some capacity and give their time to you? Of course they did.  And, you can do the very same for the current world’s teenage population now through meeting them as a fellow volunteer.

If you want to take the time to volunteer for teens, sign up to volunteer for an organization like big brother or big sister, where you can mentor them as they grow.

If you want to volunteer with teens, take the time to volunteer with organizations that are conducive to people of all ages.  Lead the teens you meet by example.  Show them, through your continued actions, what it looks to truly care for others.  Focus on sharing compassion, integrity, and hard work.  You could even take a teenager you already know and volunteer with them at an organization like Habitat for Humanity on one of their house build projects.  Maybe you could bring a teen to a nursing home and comfort the elderly together.  Regardless of how you volunteer with teens, show them what it’s like to be a truly helpful, kind, and all around good person.

These positive experiences you share with teenagers will be pivotal in their lives. Volunteering for teens or volunteering with teens will help them to feel:

  • Loved and encouraged by someone they can come to respect and admire,
  • Believed in by someone they can grow to trust, and
  • A solid sense of purpose and identity.

All teenagers need to be able to feel these three things to mature in a healthy way. The added benefit here is that in providing this encouragement to teenagers, you will grow more patient, empathetic, inclusive, and wise in your perspective of the world and others.

Come back soon for the next part of this blog series, called “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages 19-25!”

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Abroad

Why Volunteering Abroad Is Worth Your Time & How You Can Do It Now

Whether you are taking a “staycation,” where you stay at home the entire time you take a vacation or you go abroad, having time to rest is vital to humans’ well being.  If you practice the idea of “rest” often enough, interspersed throughout the chaos that is life, you will find that you energy reserves will not be deeply deprived.  By doing this, you free up time for yourself to partake in something truly meaningful during the time you take off of work for extended vacations, and that something meaningful, we would argue, is volunteering abroad.

Synter Resource Group, why should I want to volunteer abroad?

Volunteering, to begin with, is one of the most valuable and beneficial things one can do for one’s own happiness and satisfaction, aside from taking care of one’s own fundamental needs.  Our recent blog, titled, “3 Reasons Volunteering Isn’t Just About the Needy; it’s About You, Too,” shares the intricacies of how volunteering can be beneficial to most people.

Volunteering abroad, however, is a totally different animal; it still positively affects you just like volunteering locally or online would, but it also gives you a glimpse into a life, culture, and experience you have never known or at least don’t know well.  Because of this, you expose yourself to a wealth of knowledge about the world and current state of affairs that would have otherwise kept itself secret from you.

A company called GoAbroad.com, for example, offers some encouraging words that can truly inspire you to act in this powerful way as a volunteer.

“What tugs at your heartstrings? What news stories make you want to hulk out of your shirt, throw on a cape, and fly off into the sunset to save the world? There’s a multitude of worthy causes you can choose to support and the best way to sort through them without being overwhelmed is to simply ask yourself what you really want. Let your altruistic self be a little selfish here. That seemingly random set of skills, abilities, passions, and compassions you carry around like a bag of trail mix are unique to you and you alone. Embrace these when choosing a volunteer program abroad. You do you.”

Your level of compassion for others can grow wildly in these times, because you see the experiences and situations of others and feel sympathy or empathy for them.  Learning about others–bringing down that wall of, “I’m afraid of you, because you are ‘other’ than me”–gives forum to conversations that unite us together in love and acceptance, not fear and partisanship.

Okay, Synter; I want to go.  But, where? With who? When? How?

Never fear! You are not the first traveller to want to add purpose and meaning to your time abroad.  Numerous people, organization, and companies have gone before you in this fun race to provide good to the world.

GoAbroad.com, as aforementioned, is a great resource to learn about volunteering abroad.  Where we want to turn your attention to now is this article, titled, “2017 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs, Organizations, & Projects” by Volunteer Forever.  They mention thirty-one different organizations that you can trust to provide you with excellent resources to study, interesting trips to consider, and helpful associates to help guide your journey in planning and going on a volunteer abroad trip of your own.

Have you ever volunteered abroad? Let us know how it went by tweeting us @SynterResource on Twitter to continue the conversation!

Birth to 12 Synter Resource Group

How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages Birth to 12

When thinking about how volunteering can impact your social life as an adult, it’s important to consider how it might affect your relationships with people of all ages.

Take a step back with me for a moment to evaluate this idea.

How can your experience volunteering impact another person in such a way that it actually develops a real relationship between the two of you?  In order to understand how that can happen, we have to first take a look at loosely defined age groups and what they usually look for in relationships.

In this series, we provide a glimpse into what each age group is looking for in relationships and a few ways it is actually possible to develop strong bonds with them in a way that is profound to you.  Here’s a quick link out to all the ones we’ve published so far:

Ages Birth to 12

Kids of this age are essentially entirely dependent upon their parents or guardians to care for them.  They are rapidly growing in size, logic, and sociocultural understanding.  People in this age group tend to look for people who they can look up to, depend on for various instinctual needs, and rely on for them for building a foundation for interacting with other humans and living creatures.  Two ways you can develop authentic relationships with this age group in your experience volunteering are the following:

  • Someone in your immediate or extended family or even friend group is probably a child in this age group.  One idea is to bring him/her with you to volunteer, developing his/her understanding of compassion and what it looks like to show it to others.  This can connect you with this child immediately in an emotional way by establishing you as the authority figure on how caring for others is mutually beneficial.  This can leave you feeling empowered and needed by the child.
  • You can volunteer to serve this age group, as well.  For example, you can volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters to give them the social love and care they so desperately need, providing you with purpose and meaning, because these children so deeply benefit from your friendship.

Having children look up to you, play with you, listen to you, and simply be with you can be so heart warming even for adults who never wish to have children of their own.  It can challenge you to gain perspectives you do not hold yourself, encourage you to be more inclusive of younger generations, accept people who are different than you, and guide those who rely on people like you.

All of this can be had through simply volunteering and interacting with this age group in the process.

Come back soon for the next part of this blog series, called “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages 13-18

Retirees: Decrease Your Mortality Rate by 44% in the Next 5 Years with This 1 Thing

The hustle and bustle of working full-time can be extraordinarily exciting, challenging, and uplifting or stressful, draining, and time-wasting.  Usually, there is a combination of all six of those feelings during your full-time working years.  Once you retire though, you cross the finish line of your full-time working years with maybe a party to send you off.  At the end of the day, however, you go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and realize there is nothing waiting for you on the other side of retirement.

“Well, this is strange,” you might think.

You have a fresh, squeaky clean slate staring you in the face, begging the question of you, “What are you going to fill this canvas with?” That leaves you with a few new questions that you may not have considered before:

  • “What do I do now?”
  • “What are my hobbies?”
  • “Do I have hobbies?”
  • “Should I travel?”
  • “Do I have the money to travel?”
  • “Am I floundering without having structure in my life, even though it was sometimes stressful?”
  • “How do I handle this new type of anxiety?”
  • “What are my options?”
  • “Am I alone?”

The list of questions can be endless and, oftentimes, daunting, troublesome, and depressing.  One thing we recommend for retirees is to volunteer to help you answer many of these questions in a truly positive and encouraging manner.

But, why should I want to volunteer?

We’ve all heard it said before that volunteers are generally happier than non-volunteers.  However, you might think to yourself, “Is a small increase in happiness enough to make me want to dedicate hours of my precious time to volunteering?” Let’s turn to science to help us answer this questions.  With the average age of retirement being between the ages of sixty-two and sixty-five, the Corporation for National and Community Service shares the following information in their review of recent research in 2007:

“In examining the volunteer habits of individuals from four age groups (55-64, 65-74, 75-84, and 85 and older), one study looked for predictors of mortality five years later based on the frequency of volunteering.

The study found that those who volunteered with two or more organizations experienced 44 percent lower mortality rates over a five-year period than those elderly persons who did not volunteer, even after adjusting for other factors such as age, health habits, and social support.

“Indeed, volunteering was found to contribute more to lower mortality rates than high religious involvement or perceived social support. (Oman et al., 1999)” (emphasis mine)

The report goes on to say that “Individuals must meet a ‘volunteering threshold’ in order to receive the positive health outcomes from volunteering; that is, they need to commit a considerable amount of time–or at least one or two hours a week–to volunteer activities.”

That means you only have to volunteer for four to eight hours per month.  That is equivalent to one part-time shift or one full-time work day.  That’s it.  Thinking about how easy it is to gain these incredible health benefits can leave you with this resounding statement in your mind:

“This is easy! I can do this!”

So, what is our recommendation?

  • If you are a retiree looking to improve your health, happiness, and life satisfaction, and  decrease the likelihood of passing away in the next five years, we highly recommend you volunteer for one to two hours per week to start off with.

Offering yourself limits on your volunteer involvement by saying you’ll only volunteer for one-two hours per week for the next six months, say, will help you to bypass decision fatigue, gain confidence in your abilities, help others, and give you something meaningful to engage with and feel passionate about during your many years of retirement.  Who said retirement has to be boring? So, what are you waiting for? Get volunteering!

Did you like this blog? You may be interested in this one, as well: “3 Reasons Volunteering Isn’t Just About the Needy; it’s About You, Too.” Click on the link to read more!

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match

VolunteerMatch.org: From Couch To Volunteer In 3 Easy Steps

It’s 6:00AM on a Saturday morning, and your alarm goes off.

We know what you’re thinking, “That sounds terrible.”  Maybe you are an early bird, though, and that doesn’t sound too bad.  Regardless, you will probably be quite tired upon waking up that early.  At the thought of cuddling back into your cozy bed, you think to yourself, “This bed is amazing, but I signed up for this volunteer shift a while ago; I’m not going to back out just because it’s a Saturday morning and I want to sleep in.”  So, you get up, put on your Sunday best (or Saturday best, whatever suits your fancy) and head out the door to your volunteer shift.

Think for a moment.  What would drive you to get up early in the morning on a Saturday to go and volunteer? What would keep you from backing out? Is there anything you care about so much that being tired would not impede your ability to follow through? This is what is at the heart of passionate, dedicated, and dependable volunteers.  A volunteer’s passion for a cause is what gives a volunteer a reason to serve in the first place, what keeps them going when they are weary, and what pushes them to give more as time goes on.

With this in mind, it does not have to be a difficult process to become a volunteer.  With these five simple steps, you can go from sitting on your couch to volunteering with all your might in no time.

1) Ask yourself, “What am I passionate about?”

Here is a list of causes someone may consider when deciding with which cause they want to volunteer.  This list comes from VolunteerMatch.org.

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match 1

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match 2

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match 3

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match 4

2) Use VolunteerMatch.org to find a virtual volunteer opportunity or a volunteer opportunity near you.

Synter Resource Group Volunteer Match 5

Scroll down to the portion of the homepage that looks like the image below and search from causes that pique your interest.

Through searching in their database of volunteer needs, you will find not only organizations that serve the causes you are passionate about, but you will also be given most of the information you will need to volunteer with this organization.

3) Digitally reach out to the organization(s) of your choice.

On VolunteerMatch, they provide you with a point of contact at the organization(s) of your choosing so that you can set up and expedite your first experience with ease.

4) Speak with someone on the phone from the organization if the volunteer opportunity is virtual or visit the organization’s campus to set up a tour if it is nearby.

This step is important so that you don’t get involved with an organization you might end up not liking.  Once you do this, you will have a much greater awareness about whether or not you want to volunteer with a particular organization.

5) Arrange your first volunteer opportunity, and follow through!

Once you have found an organization you like, set up your first volunteer opportunity, follow through on your commitment, and enjoy the ride! Give it a real chance, and you will see the rewards that come from partaking in these types of experiences.

Excellent work! You have just found out how to go from couch to volunteer in four easy steps.  Do you want to learn more about volunteerism and charity work? Visit us at SynterResourceGroup.org for monthly blogs!

Synter Resource Group History Definition of Nonprofit Organization

A Brief History and Definition of the USA’s Non-Profit Organization

The idea of the “volunteer” far predates the commonly known organization called the “Nonprofit.”  As widely known as nonprofits are in the twenty-first century, their place of origin only found a firm foundation in the 1970’s.  The IRS, at the realization that laws were needed to regulate the tax code, with respect to mission-driven organizations, created Section 501 in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.  This section, loosely stated, describes that tax exempt donations could be given to nonprofit organizations.  Thus, the nonprofit organization was born.

Before the nonprofit was established in the United States, in particular, citizens were actively at work for centuries, trying to provide for the people of their society in creative and new ways that no one had ever done before.  Paul Arnsberger, Melissa Ludlum, Margaret Riley, and Mark Stanton of the IRS think Alexis de Tocqueville said it best in his 1831 renowned visit to the USA:

“Americans of all ages, conditions, and dispositions constantly unite together. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations to which all belong but also a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile…Americans group together to hold fetes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, distribute books…They establish prisons, schools by the same method…I have frequently admired the endless skill with which the inhabitants of the United States manage to set a common aim to the efforts of a great number of men and to persuade them to pursue it voluntarily.”

Defining the Umbrella Term

According to Peter Dobkin Hall, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations’ Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University:

“The terms nonprofit sector and nonprofit organization are neologisms. Coined by economists, lawyers, and policy scientists in the decades following World War II as part of an effort to describe and classify the organizational domain for tax, policy, and regulatory purposes, the meaning varies depending on the identity and intentions of the user.”

According to the IRS:

“To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

Breaking Down the Term

When someone uses the term “nonprofit organization,” it is usually used to reference parts of the tax code covered in either Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).  From a more inclusive standpoint, Hall explains, it includes, “political parties, trade associations, mutual benefit associations, and other entities that enjoy various degrees of exemption, accord donors various kinds of tax relief, and are constrained in distributing their surpluses in the form of dividends.”  Although numerous nonprofit organizations fall under the 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) regulations, there are twenty-seven other regulations under Section 501 of the IRS tax code.

For a full listing of all twenty-nine types of nonprofit organizations under the IRS tax code, visit Charity Navigator’s website.  To help your organization or an organization you know, reference the IRSs’ document, titled, “Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.”

Synter Resource Group Get Your Employees to Volunteer

Want Your Employees to Volunteer? Implement this 6-Step Process Now

Companies oftentimes do not focus on the immense opportunity they have to become not only a profit-building entity in their local area, but also a highly-valuable asset to locals with extensive community-value.

We at Synter Resource Group recommend that you have someone in charge of employee engagement within the company.  Once that person is in place, have them implement the following six-step process.

Step 1: Compile data.

Ask your employees questions about their availability.  Ask them about what topics or causes interest them.  Ask what non-profits they already know about in the local area that they may want to volunteer with.  Ask whatever questions you think are necessary to find out what they are interested in, where they’d like to volunteer, and when they’d be available to volunteer.

Step 2: Pull stories from the data.

Compile this information in a master spreadsheet.  What similarities are there between the employees? Are there any patterns of availability? Are there any patterns in their passion towards certain causes? Are there any non-profits that numerous people mentioned interest in? Take the time to pull stories from this data.  Data gives you the hard facts you need to create a narrative about the company as a whole, but only you can take that data and make actionable goals specific to your company based on it.

Step 3: Conduct research.

Once you have pulled the stories from the data, it’s now time to conduct thorough research on the local community and what nonprofits are available within about a half an hour drive from the company for reasonable commuter timing purposes.

Step 4: Present the chosen nonprofits to the leadership team.

You now have the data, associated stories, and viable candidate organizations to connect your employees with.  Now, bring this information to the leadership team in an easily digestible and visually engaging manner.  Host a vote amongst the leaders to decide which nonprofits your company will formally recommend to employees.

Step 5: Be the match maker.

Set the employees up with non-profit organizations that they each specifically would be interested in based on the data they shared in filling out of the survey in step one.  You must absolutely give the disclaimer that you not are liable for any negative experiences employees have with organizations just because your company recommended that the employees check them out.

Step 6: Follow up.

Check back in with them about a week later.  Ask such questions as, “What do you think of the non-profit organizations we put you in touch with? Are you planning on volunteering with any of them? Have you set up any plans to volunteer already?”

Then, follow up with them in a few months and ask such questions as, “Have you volunteered yet? If so, how did that experience go? Would you recommend that we send volunteers there in the future?”  Make sure to get these follow up sessions with them on the books so that your employees feel the positive pressure to be prepared to answer these questions from you at those designated times.

This is obviously one method of engaging your employees in volunteer experiences locally.  What are some other methods that you have experienced that worked for your company? Tweet us @SynterResource to continue the conversation!

Synter Resource Group Benefits of Volunteering

3 Reasons Volunteering Isn’t Just About the Needy; it’s About You, Too

At Synter Resource Group, we are utterly and completely in love with volunteering.  Between working with United Way and The Greater Charleston First Tee Organization to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Adopt-A-Highway, we go big instead of going home.  Because of this, it’s our goal spread the good news of volunteering to as many people as possible.  It is not only good for those in need, it is also good for the those who volunteer.  It’s not only good for volunteers, it is really good for volunteers.  Take a look here at some of the reasons why.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D.,… a business psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and writer in Washington, DC…  focuses on helping individuals and business leaders identify and resolve the mixture of personal, career-related and organizational conflicts that often undermine psychological health and a positive work culture.”  Douglas wrote for the Huffington Post about how volunteers benefit from volunteering in a deep mental and emotional way.  Take a gander at this excerpt from his writings:

“Many successful, career-oriented men and women openly acknowledge feelings of inner emptiness, a lack of meaning or real human connection in their lives. Those who volunteer sometimes discover that their volunteer work is the only kind of engagement in their lives that feels meaningful to them — often greater than their career, sometimes more so than their intimate relationships. I’ve heard similar observations from my psychotherapy patients, as well, over the years. That’s a disruptive experience, hard to ignore. But it opens the door to more self-directed growth, regarding your values and life purpose, to becoming a more fully-developed adult.” (emphasis mine)

One of the beautiful things about volunteering is that you cannot separate its goodness for others from its goodness for those who do it.  Of course, someone needs to volunteer in such a way that best fits their needs for personal and professional development, as well as their needs for balance between their involvement with volunteering and their other responsibilities.  However, when it is a balanced effort, it gives volunteers a mental and emotional high that is founded on deeply meaningful work.  It is thoroughly beneficial for the brain.  To support this statement, we wish to turn your attention to an exciting study conducted at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The school shares:

“Volunteer service, such as tutoring children, can help older adults delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that seniors participating in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities important to planning and organizing one’s daily life… enhancing their quality of life.”

It’s important to note that volunteering has incredible effects on the brain for people of all ages, influxing dopamine into the brain through active participation and a decrease in feelings of anxiety, depression, and meaninglessness.

The evidence is overwhelming for the positive effects of volunteering on the individual.  From an increase in meaningful social experiences to research-backed improvements in brain functioning, volunteering is clearly fruitful and beneficial for all those involved.

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