It's no secret that eating right and exercising regularly can improve your health. But, did you know that volunteering your time may also add years to your life?
Here's how, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service External Site.
- Volunteering enhances your mental health. Research shows that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and greater life satisfaction. Plus, it helps you build a support system of people with common interests, which can provide a barrier to stress. This is especially true for older adults.
- Volunteering leads to a greater sense of purpose. Giving back reinforces the feeling of accomplishment and enhances your social networks.
- Volunteering may help you live longer. Several studies show that people who volunteer live longer. Researchers also say that people with chronic or serious illnesses receive benefits from volunteering beyond what can be achieved through medical care alone.
- Volunteering helps your physical well-being. State volunteer rates are strongly connected with the physical health of the state's population. That's just one reason why Volunteer Iowa External Site continues their mission of improving the lives of Iowans and strengthening communities through service and volunteering.
"Volunteering is critical to our state for many reasons," says Volunteer Iowa Commissioner and Volunteer Engagement Committee Chair, Angela Ten Clay. "When individuals give back, there can be significant health benefits, which in return leads to good things in communities all across our state."
"Our state recognizes the benefits of volunteering, and Volunteer Iowa works to increase volunteerism across the state by executing the Governor's volunteer plan," adds Ten Clay.
Wellmark employees give back
Wellmark employees are doing their part to give back to our communities in Iowa and South Dakota. In 2017 alone, employees volunteered more than 39,000 hours to a variety of qualified nonprofit organizations. The Wellmark Foundation matched these efforts resulting in a contribution of more than $1.9 million to 659 nonprofits across Iowa and South Dakota.
One of the organizations chosen by a Wellmark employee to receive funding from The Wellmark Foundation was Feeding South Dakota External Site.
"Thanks to The Wellmark Foundation's BluesCare Giving program, almost 70 individuals in South Dakota were able to have one meal a day for a year and 33 children will be provided a weekend food package for each weekend of the school year," said Matt Gassen, CEO of Feeding South Dakota.
"Beyond the monetary donation, we are also grateful for the Wellmark employees who continue to volunteer their time to help us fulfill our mission. We are very appreciative of the support we've received over the years from The Wellmark Foundation."
Get involved in your commuity
Opportunities to volunteer in your own community are everywhere. If you're unsure about how to get started, check out Volunteer Match External Site.