April is National Volunteer month—30 days set aside to recognize the importance of volunteering and honor the contributions of volunteers. Here at Interfaith Community PADS, we couldn’t wait to jump into the celebration. After all, volunteering is embedded in our story. In this blog post, we’re going to talk a little about that and then share 7 reasons to volunteer this month and all year round!
Volunteering at ICPADS: Past, Present, and Future
In 2002, our journey began when two women who were concerned about homeless men during the cold winter months started a men’s shelter. The shelter ran in church basements for over a decade and was made possible through the work and coordination of many volunteers in our community.
Today, we are an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We have expanded to include a women’s program, and we operate out of Sacred Heart Church on 8th Street in Michigan City. Volunteers remain a vital part of our organization. They help us check in homeless guests in the evenings, make and serve meals, clean, organize, and assist with special projects, such as the Nice Neighbor program we started in March 2022.
Volunteering is an essential part of our future at ICPADS too. To continue to serve the needs of homeless men and women in our community, we need the ongoing support of volunteers. Maybe that includes you! To find out how you can help our mission, contact us via our contact form, email address, phone number, or Facebook page.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
7 Reasons to Volunteer
There are so many amazing benefits to volunteering—some you may be aware of and others that may surprise you. If you’re looking for a reason to volunteer during National Volunteer Month (or ANY month!), check out the list below.
1. You’re needed!
Whether it’s ICPADS or some other worthy cause in La Porte County, the need for volunteers is great. In order to function at full capacity, nonprofits require the help of others who can donate their time and skills.
2. You can make a difference.
Volunteering gives you an opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. You’ll make a difference in individuals’ lives, as well as our community.
Speaking of community, your volunteering efforts will help build our community too, which was our New Year’s Wish for 2022. For example, you can help:
- Provide needed resources (by volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens)
- Improve schools (through tutoring and literacy programs)
- Support youth (through mentoring and after-school programs)
- Protect animals (through rescue and rehoming programs)
- Beautify our community (through beach and park cleanups)
- Provide hope (through hospital and nursing home volunteering)
4. You can learn new skills.
The training and hands-on experience you get while volunteering is invaluable because it helps you grow and learn new skills. This includes hard skills (things like computer, technical, management, or career-specific skills) and soft skills (like problem-solving, teamwork, time management, creativity, and communication skills). Both are equally valuable and can help your personal and career growth.
5. You may improve your mental and even physical health.
Studies show that volunteering makes people feel more socially connected, which wards off loneliness and depression. And there is a growing body of research that suggests that there are physical health benefits too. For example, one study found that adults over 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. The reason why could be because of an increase in physical activity or a reduction in stress.
6. You can meet new people and make friends.
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, as well as strengthen your connections with friends, family, and coworkers when you volunteer together. Often when you volunteer, you’ll interact with people from different backgrounds than you, which will help you learn other perspectives and grow empathy.
7. You can have fun!
Volunteering is a wonderful way to explore your interests and passions. Doing something you enjoy and really care about can be an escape from the day-to-day routine of work, school, and family commitments. Finding a cause you believe in can bring purpose and fulfillment to your life.
Volunteering and You
Volunteering is an amazing way to share your time and skills with individuals and organizations that need people like you. The best part is that there are many opportunities available, so you can choose a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Further, within each organization, there is typically a range of volunteer opportunities to choose from.
Do you care about homelessness in La Porte County? Do you want to help provide the essentials of food and shelter that our homeless guests need as they rebuild their lives? Do you want to show your support for our mission with a one-time or ongoing volunteer assignment? Then we’d love to talk to you—contact us today!