Chairman Talks: Becoming A Volunteer For SAVSIM
Updated: Jun 20
As Chairman of SAVSIM, there are several questions that I receive, some of which have been covered in some of these previous blogs, however, one I would like to speak about this week is the question: “Why should I volunteer?” With several fundraisers and volunteers already contributing their time to help push SAVSIM forward in achieving our goals, I wanted to take a moment to speak about why you should volunteer and how it will help you as an individual as well as us as a non-profit organisation.
What Will I Be Achieving By Volunteering For SAVSIM?
If you are volunteering for SAVSIM, in the first instance you are preventing wildlife crime and supporting the veteran community. This is something very close to our hearts with programs such as Warriors of Hope and several animal conservation projects already underway. The benefits of volunteering to raise both awareness and funds for projects such as this are not only vital to the continuation of such projects through fundraising, but it is also beneficial to the volunteer as research has found that the benefits of volunteering include stress reduction, being part of a community and providing a sense of purpose.
A Sense Of Achievement Working Towards A Common Goal
Another benefit that can come from volunteering is this sense of working together. This is why many people chose to volunteer when they move home or start to live in a new area as it is an easy way to meet new people and it also strengthens your ties to that local community and broadens your support network.
Furthermore, it connects you to people who have common interests and passions and who could go on to become great friends. It’s one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets you do just that. In addition to meeting new people, it is also an amazing way to expand your horizons and meet new people that you might not normally connect with: people from different age groups, ethnicities or social groups. Because volunteering is open to everyone, it allows you to meet a wide variety of people from all sorts of walks of life, something that can only open your eyes further.
Building Self-Esteem And Confidence
Most volunteers say by doing good for others and the community it helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment. This is a great way to give you a sense of pride and identity whilst helping to boost your self-confidence further. By taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment you are giving yourself personal goals whilst working towards a common goal with like-minded people.
Most volunteers experience a sense of accomplishment and improved self-worth, which they will invariably take back to a normal routine, which will create a more positive view of their own lives and future goals.
Volunteering helps many not just break free from their comfort zones and try something new but build self-confidence and share new experiences and even new cultures. For those who wish to it is also the perfect opportunity to travel and meet new people to learn from and grow.
Alongside the benefit of meeting people, many volunteers experience health benefits that not only can boost your mental, but also physical health. Whether it be walking to raise money for a project or breaking through mental barriers to achieve a common goal as part of a group project, both your mental and physical health can benefit from volunteering. This is evident in several scientific studies from the likes of Harvard University in 2013 stating that those who give their time to others benefited from lower blood pressure.
Recent studies have shown the benefits to mental well-being and volunteering are intrinsically linked and the benefits are clear. The facts are conclusive, the social contact aspect of helping others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Society is identifying loneliness as a major contributor to mental well-being and volunteering is a great way to keep contact with others. It can aid in creating a solid support system, which in turn combats feelings of loneliness and depression.
Volunteering with SAVSIM adds another dimension as it provides the opportunity to get back in touch with nature. With several animal conservation projects as well as animal therapy for veterans, you are giving back to the community whilst aiding your own personal growth. The benefits and boost to mental health simply by carrying out an altruistic act makes you happier; referred to as the ‘helper's high'.
As a race, we Humans are hard-wired to give to others, scientific research by measuring brain activity and happiness hormones, as shown by being helpful to others we get great pleasure in doing so.
“When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety.”
The Sense of Purpose
Volunteering by nature is choosing to work without receiving monetary compensation, people often choose to give their time to issues or organisations they feel are important or have a special connection to, for example, SAVSIM volunteers will have an animal and veterans’ connection.
Volunteering like this helps address a social problem that is meaningful to you and in turn helps to build a sense of purpose, which furthermore boosts your own happiness.
SAVSIM volunteers at the Zoological Society of London, we had a mixed team of supporters from industry who collected leaves to create winter feed for the animals.
The positivity couldn’t be measured, we had comments like my “most favourite day at work!”
We also got close to some of the animals!
To find out more please visit our website: https://www.savsim.org/
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On behalf of the animals, we protect and the veterans we support.