Volunteers Makes a Meaningful Impact
The Rocky River Senior Center honored over 130 volunteers in a Hollywood-style Gala complete with red carpet, paparazzi, and screaming fans in late February. Volunteers were treated to a catered dinner with entertainment and dancing. After the walk on the red carpet, volunteers enjoyed an Oscar Awards movie presentation featuring, of course, the volunteers. Excitement mounted as volunteers were recognized for their service and, can we have the envelope please – Nancy Schneider was named Volunteer of the Year!
Nancy was sitting in the front row when the announcement was made, oblivious to the fact that her family had slipped in the back of the auditorium to witness the event! It is Nancy’s smiling face you see in the gift shop every Wednesday. From there, she moves on to the front desk to provide relief during the lunch hour. Nancy also helps out at many of the center’s special events. Nobody will be surprised to learn that Nancy spent a large part of her career in customer service in the retail industry. Those skills serve her well in volunteer work- she is friendly, helpful, always smiling, quick to resolve problems and fun to talk to!
Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s well-being. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back? These volunteers certainly return to our community some of the benefits that the community has given them. Can one person actually make a difference? Absolutely!
Volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Volunteers make a decision to help on their own accord. Repeatedly, these volunteers express a sense of achievement, motivation and personal satisfaction generated from their desire and enthusiasm to help.
Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and happiness in a large group of American adults. They found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Compared to people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among people who volunteer monthly and 12% among those who volunteer every two weeks. Weekly volunteers report even higher levels of happiness - 16% feel very happy.
Volunteering provides many benefits for both your mental and physical health. It increases self-confidence and reduces the risk of depression. Studies show volunteers have a lower mortality rate than those not volunteering, AND volunteering has been shown to lessen the symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease!
Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” What better place to learn and live, then the Rocky River Senior Center!
Deborah (Bock) Capstick is the Director of Senior Services for the City of Rocky River. She has a B.A. in psychology and M.A. in counseling. For the last 13 years, Deborah has worked with seniors in North Olmsted, Bay Village and Rocky River.