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The Unexpected Rewards of Volunteering

diverse group of teens volunteer with donations boxes

Volunteering is all about helping others. But when you volunteer, one of the people who can benefit is you. Everyone has their own reasons to volunteer, including:

  • Learning a new skill
  • Connecting with your community
  • Gaining a sense of achievement
  • Expanding career options
  • Discovering a new interest
  • Getting hands-on experience
  • Meeting new people
  • Inspiring others

Volunteering also has health benefits. A review of research by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, found volunteering is linked to longer life, lower rates of depression, and less risk of heart disease.

In other words, volunteering can make you happier and healthier.

  • A study of adults ages 60 and older found that the positive effects of volunteering included improved physical and mental health and greater life satisfaction.
  • Other studies show that people who begin volunteering at earlier ages enjoy better health later in life and may even live longer.
  • People were more likely to get positive physical benefits if they volunteered for at least 2 different organizations or volunteered for at least 40 hours a year.
  • In the US, states with the highest volunteer rates tend to have lower rates of heart disease and death than states with the lowest volunteer rates.

Volunteer with the American Cancer Society

Learn about the many ways to become involved with the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Learn about the many opportunities to become involved with the American Cancer Society.

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