When you volunteer with Venture 2 Impact, you won’t only have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others; you, too, will be significantly impacted. And one such way you will be impacted is through the new friendships you develop!
Research shows that one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is one such shared activity that enables you to meet new people and broaden your social network.
At Venture 2 Impact, we have always understood that transformation takes place within the context of community, and the development we seek for all of our stakeholders depends on relationships and connection. Bringing people together enables empowerment and change. When people feel seen, known, and safe, they are able to show up as their authentic selves and take risks.
As one long-term V2I volunteer puts it: “I think the nature of working on meaningful projects together and being thrown into a wide variety of situations together really helps fast track the friendship process and helps build strong connections, quickly. I think the fact that V2I also vets volunteers to make sure that they have a mindset and temperament that is likely going to work well in a collaborative and innovative setting helps bring people together that in a way are primed to look for connections and deeper friendships.”
We are all busy and there are so many things competing for our attention. Time is a limited and precious resource; when we experience competing priorities, we often think we no longer have time for volunteering. However, friendship with your fellow volunteers combats this thinking because volunteering and connection improve physical and mental well-being.
One V2I volunteer shares, “I think by really building a community that feels connected, it keeps that mindset of volunteering or thinking of what you can do to be involved in trying to help others closer to the front of your mind. Not only that, but once you have participated in a few activities, then it is likely you will already know someone in future activities, so it gives you something extra to look forward to. I know when I am signing up for a project that I am likely to see some old friends, and very likely to meet some new ones.”
Did you know that helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose that contributes to your mental health? And you don’t even have to commit to a long-term volunteer project to experience the benefits! A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
As another volunteer puts it, “I am the happiest when I am either creative or connecting with others. When the connection happens while giving back, it is beyond special.” Another volunteer has expressed that volunteering has increased their confidence and “given [her] some comfort when the news is bleak or current events seem overwhelming, to know that there are many people out there who are looking for opportunities to help and collaborate with others who are helping others around the world.”
Are you realizing that the pandemic and working from home have led to a smaller social circle? Would you like to make some new friends? If you answer yes to either of these questions, you should say yes to volunteering!
This is part 2 of a 2-part series on friendship and volunteering. You can find part 1 on how volunteering helps combat loneliness and increases friendship and connection for V2I’s Strategic Engagement Manager here.
Robinson, L. (2022, February 8). Making good friends. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communicatiohttps://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/making-good-friends.htm/making-good-friends.htm
Saisan, J. (2017, February 19). Volunteering and its surprising benefits. United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from http://volunteerrutherford.com/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits/