Every day around our city and country, countless volunteers selflessly give their resources, time and talent to serve others. Many of these volunteers choose to give their time by assisting with multiple efforts at various non-profit area organizations. As a non-profit healthcare system, Ochsner, as one example, utilizes a dedicated team of volunteers to help enrich the community, engaging patients in meaningful, long-lasting ways.
Motivated by personal, moral or spiritual factors, Ochsner’s volunteers, who collectively donate 40,000 hours of service annually, represent a wide range of age groups, from as young as 18 to upwards of 80 years of age. Katie Daher, Manager of Ochsner’s Volunteer Services, explains that “many simply make small talk and walk with patients. Our volunteers help in giving patients peace of mind, which is what we strive for here at Ochsner.” While some volunteers enjoy working with people, many prefer to use their clerical and professional skills to support staff carry out everyday tasks. A number of volunteers even use their role as an opportunity to learn a new skill.
So aside from fulfilling one’s selfless concern for the well-being of others, can volunteerism also be beneficial to one’s own health and well-being? Research has indicated that “positive emotions enhance psychological and physical resilience” as it pertains to the “undoing of negative emotions.”1
Katie has seen first-hand the impact of volunteerism as she’s witnessed volunteers’ transition out of a depressed state through their work. Whether they are suffering from the loss of a loved one or struggling with immobility, the ability to serve has helped many affirm that they are still needed, and it is this need or purpose that we rely on to keep moving forward in our personal lives. Katie expressed that the work that they do also allows them “to put their situation in perspective and gives them something to look forward to. Feeling useful undoubtedly helps with the volunteer’s emotional well-being.”
You too can help strengthen your community anytime throughout the year, but especially by participating in the largest crowdfunding event in history on Give Local America Day.
Over 50 communities across the country will host a Give Local Day, a one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to the non-profit organizations that make their region stronger for all community members.
As a mark of our continued spirit of giving and improved well-being, Ochsner will be participating in the New Orleans community’s annual GiveNOLA Day. It’s our day to come together as one!
Follow the participation in #GiveNOLA Day and join in on social media and on their website.
1 Post, Stephen. (2005) “Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good”. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(2), 66-77.