Volunteering can have just as many benefits for mind and body as sports can. Alanna Waters exerts her body and mind as a lacrosse coach and artist. She urges people to get involved in charity and volunteer work for just as much of an emotional benefit.
Alanna Waters is many things. First and foremost she’s Assistant Women’s Lacrosse coach at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She’s a counselor and support system for many of the freshmen girls that she coaches. She’s an active artist that has developed a dedicated fan base. And, last but not least, she’s a volunteer at Rosie’s Place.
Rosie’s Place is a shelter for homeless and poverty stricken women that’s been operating since 1974. Alanna Waters believes that just like sports, and art, volunteering is important for developing lasting life skills. Taking on the challenge of volunteering is important for those being helped. Many shelters and non-profit companies can’t afford to hire full time staff for the endless services that they provide, but they still need help for those tasks. Though volunteering helps others, the rewards that it gives volunteers are lifelong and priceless. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a place to volunteer.
What are the benefits?
Volunteering increases social circles and allows people to make more friends. The friends made during volunteering might be of all different ages and backgrounds, but they are all interested in the same things you are. If you’ve just moved to a new community, getting involved in a local charity could help grow your social circle.
In addition to added friends, Alanna Waters thinks that volunteering is great for staying physically healthy or combating depression. Volunteering has been shown to lower mortality rates and up the rate of social inclusion. If you feel isolated or depressed, helping those who are less fortunate will make you appreciate all of the great things you’ve got going on. Social interaction boosts mood as well.
Young people that volunteer learn great skills that they can apply on and off of their college resume. Volunteering builds repor with elders and authority figures. It’s also great for empowerment. If you know a young person who needs a boost of self-confidence, volunteering could give them the responsibility and challenge they crave.
Where to volunteer?
A quick internet search could help you get an idea of establishments in need in your area. If you’re interested in working with people, shelters for the homeless, homes for elderly people, Veteran Hospitals, and Big Brother Big Sister programs are great for you. And if you’re an animal lover, many shelters need dog walkers and people to help feed, brush, and care for animals.
If you have a disability, or have limited physical abilities, you can still volunteer! Many charities and shelters need pro-bono writing and design work done for flyers or websites. Alanna Waters found that working with women in need was just as beneficial for her personal life and self confidence as lacrosse was to her career. Take some time to volunteer and see how it makes you feel.
Alanna Waters is the Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She’s an avid lover of lacrosse and councils freshmen players. When she isn’t coaching, she splits her time between the non-profit charity Rosie’s Place and working on creating original works of art.