There’s no magic pill to create a healthier you, but there is an alternative way to strengthen your mind, body and soul – through volunteerism. It’s no mystery that volunteering for charitable causes benefits the recipient, but many people don’t consider the positive side effects volunteering creates for one’s self.
According to a 2017 research study by Unitedhealth Group, 93 percent of people who volunteer reported an improved mood, 79 percent reported lower stress levels and 75 percent reported feeling physically healthier. Other reported benefits include: reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increased energy and self-esteem, improved immune system, weight control, and reductions of anxiety and depression.
Joyce Reid, a Long-term Care Certified Volunteer Ombudsman with the Alamo Area Agency on Aging (AAA), says “volunteering is a natural part of my regular regiment – just like working out at the gym, eating healthy foods and getting a good night’s sleep. It’s time that I give freely, and the benefits I get back are incalculable. There’s something truly magical about connecting with people, building relationships and serving real needs.”
Joyce regularly visits nursing and assisted living homes, where she advocates for residents’ rights. “I help empower residents and their families to ask questions and demand good care for themselves and their loved ones” says Reid.
With commitments ranging from once a month to a few hours a week, volunteering can fit almost any schedule. The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) supports local governments and citizens of 13 counties surrounding the Alamo Area – and regularly seeks assistance from the community. Programs include aging services, benefits counseling, ombudsman, public safety, weatherization assistance and veteran services. To learn more about volunteering in your area, visit or call (866)231-4922.
Volunteers do not receive monetary compensation, but some organizations and programs may offer mileage reimbursement.