Here at Salt & Light, we have the opportunity every day to see the tremendous impact that volunteers can make in their community. But another rewarding part of our work is the chance to see the impact that serving in their community makes on volunteers themselves. Many people are surprised to find that when they set out to make a difference in things around them, they also end up being changed in ways they did not expect.
One way this always happens is by learning something new. Many of us have reached a place in life where most of what we do each day is inside our comfort zone—things that are familiar to us, that we have done probably many times before. But volunteering requires us to step outside of our comfort zones and try something unfamiliar, to put ourselves in a situation that’s new and uncertain. This is the only path to growth, and volunteers at Salt & Light will always find that they are learning new skills. Those skills might be practical, the tasks involved in running the daily operations of ministry here, or they may be the important personal and relational skills that are involved in becoming a stronger individual and better friend, teammate, or community member. Either way, volunteering requires us to stretch and grow.
Not only that, but volunteering is good for our physical and mental health. Studies show that people who volunteer regularly are more active, take better care of themselves, and even live longer than people who don’t. Volunteering reduces stress, and has positive impacts on depression, self-esteem, and illnesses like PTSD. People with chronic illnesses can experience less symptoms and pain, and older people feel younger and more engaged. There is even a connection between volunteering and reduced risks of heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Most importantly, volunteering builds community. Stronger relationships and social networks are an inescapable part of working together with others as part of a team toward a shared cause. Here at Salt & Light, you’ll find that many of our volunteers consider our team to be like a second family. The love, acceptance, and support that people find in our community of members and volunteers is a rare and valuable asset that enriches everyone who has the opportunity to become a part of it.
We encourage you to come on out and volunteer with us, to see for yourself. You can make a difference, and you might surprise yourself with the difference in you.