The holiday season evokes a spirit of giving as individuals throughout the country rally together to serve warm meals, collect and donate articles of clothing and lend a helping hand through other community efforts for families in need.
Many selflessly give their resources, time and talent in serving others. Non-profits throughout the country are no different in that hundreds of volunteers serve throughout their communities in efforts needed at various area organizations. As a non-profit healthcare system, Ochsner 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, 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 in supporting 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.”
As a mark of our continued spirit of giving and improved well-being, Ochsner, along with numerous other companies both large and small, will be participating in a national philanthropic effort recognized as #GivingTuesday.
Join with Ochsner and others in your community on Giving Tuesday, December 2, to spread the message and consider ways in which you can give and leave your legacy.
Follow Ochsner’s participation in #GivingTuesday with the hash tag #OchsnerForAPurpose.
1. Post, Stephen. (2005) “Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good”. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(2), 66-77.