Thursday, September 12, 2013

GUEST COMMENTARY: Volunteering brings numerous benefits

By DIANE HENTGES, Director of the Volunteer Center at the United Way of Wyandotte County

KANSAS CITY, KAN. --- There are numerous benefits attached to volunteering. The obvious benefit is that the cause, program or project has the satisfaction of getting the job completed. 

In some cases, the volunteer work may be directly related to the agency fulfilling its mission. It could be general building and grounds maintenance that ensures a safe and healthy setting for staff and visitors. 

The obvious benefit to the agency is that the work was done without hiring someone to do it. The other benefit to the organization is that they had an opportunity to share their story with a volunteer. 

In addition to the benefits to the organization, there are numerous benefits to the volunteer. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health. 

This report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease. Some interesting facts for those 65 and over are that volunteering led to lower rates of depression and a greater personal sense of accomplishment.  

Another recent study released in June of this year found that volunteering is associated with and increased likelihood of finding employment for individuals who are currently unemployed. The study found that volunteering is associated with a 27 percent higher odds of employment. 

Volunteers who are unemployed can keep their skills sharp, learn new skills, expand their network of contacts, and improve their resume. 

Lastly, the clients of the organization benefit from the hard work of volunteers. Young people are tutored and mentored to succeed in school. Clients at assistance centers get basic needs met. 

The infirmed are provided comfort and companionship. Those without transportation are given a ride. The benefits are many. 

For more information on how you can GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER please contact me at 913-371-3674 or at 

You can find volunteer opportunities by checking out our website, and click on Volunteer.