With all the bad news and divisiveness permeating our culture today, it can be a struggle to see the good in the world.
The good news: We can teach our kids—and even ourselves—ways that they can contribute to making the planet a better place.
There are many opportunities to lend a hand by volunteering. Helping others isn’t a purely selfless act—though it does certainly make a big difference in the lives of those who need help. But the reality is, volunteering has a positive effect on everyone, both the giver and the receiver. It’s known to play a big role in creating a happier, healthier life.
Here at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, we have several wonderful volunteers who help out mainly in two of our programs: The Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court, and our Learning to Learn Center’s tutoring program.
Are you interested in being a Guidance Center volunteer?
The Guidance Center is always looking for hard-working people who have patience and a love for children. All volunteers (you must be 18 or older) have their own unique schedules and flexibility. To find out more about our tutoring program, contact Gerri Lima at 516-997-2926, ext. 239, or email GLima@northshorechildguidance.org. If you are interested in volunteering at the Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court, contact Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust at (516) 997-2926, ext. 229, or email NTaylorWalthrust@northshorechildguidance.org. If your company is interested in creating a volunteer initiative with the Guidance Center, please contact Lauren McGowan at (516) 626-1971, ext. 320 or email LMcGowan@northshorechildguidance.org
The Children’s Center provides care and early learning to almost 2,000 children annually, ages 6 weeks – 12 years, while their parents or guardians are conducting court business. Volunteers read and play with the children, and that interaction is sometimes the most rewarding time the children (and the volunteers!) have all week!
With our Learning to Learn Center program, volunteers offer to tutor students from the youngest of ages up through high school. One of our tutors, Lauren Greenberg, says that she knew she wanted to get involved in helping kids. Luckily for us, she chose to volunteer for our program.
“I’ve been tutored before and was grateful for that,” says Greenberg, now a freshman at Wesleyan University. “Plus, I love the kids! Tutoring is the most fun part of my week.”
(Lauren’s story will be featured in our February issue of our Guidelines newsletter. To receive the newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Following are some of the reasons volunteering is beneficial:
- It reduces the risk of depression by helping you make new friends and build a support network of like-minded people.
- It boosts your self-esteem and helps you develop better communication skills.
- Volunteering keeps you active and engaged with the world, and depending on what kind of volunteering you do, it could even help you stay more physically fit, including lowering your blood pressure!
- It exposes you to new experiences, giving you insight into the world around you and all the opportunities that are out there just waiting for your energy and dedication.
- It helps reduce stress and loneliness by giving you a feeling of purpose and connection.
- The symptoms of mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxiety and other conditions have been shown to decrease when people volunteer.
- Volunteering gives you perspective, helping you realize that there are others in the world struggling with issues, just like you.
The bottom line: Volunteering is fun!