The Emotional Benefits of Community Service
Serving Others for Emotional Wellbeing in New England
Volunteering or involving one’s self in community service has been widely researched for potential benefits to social and emotional wellbeing. Although it is already known that there is a great deal of benefit that is experienced by the recipient of the community service; there is a lot of evidence showing that the person who does the community service experiences improvements in social and emotional wellbeing. Some of these benefits include improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety, a greater self-worth, and an overall improved life satisfaction. Doing volunteer work also improves social wellbeing by allowing us to form strong social connections with others who have similar interests as us. Additionally, doing community service and volunteer work allows us to get out of the house and stay physically active.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the way we can engage in community service and volunteer work has changed. If you did regular community service before the start of the pandemic, I’m sure that there are just some things that you can’t do anymore due to COVID-19 protocols and physical distancing. But if you are looking to get involved again, or want to start a new habit of doing community service and live in New England, here is a list of a few community service activities in each state!
Maine: Use this link to navigate to the United Way website of Maine. Here, you can find a list of all community service opportunities in Maine. Some of the biggest needs are for volunteers for Meals on Wheels across the state, and volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.
New Hampshire: Use this link to get to the VolunteerMatch website for New Hampshire. Here, you can filter your area and interests in the search and the website will bring you to a page with all of the current volunteer opportunities that would be best suited for you. They even have a page exclusively for virtual community service!
Vermont: Use this link to get to the VolunteerMatch website for Vermont. Similar to the page for New Hampshire; you can filter your area and interests to find community service that you would be most interested in.
Massachusetts: Use this link to find the Massachusetts Service Alliance website. Here, you can use the map on the homepage to select your region to see all of the current community service opportunities in your area!
Connecticut: Use this link to find the Volunteer Square website for Connecticut. There are nearly a dozen pages of different community services opportunities in all areas of Connecticut. You can also filter your search for projects in your area and area of interest.
Rhode Island: Use this link to find the VolunteerMatch website for Rhode Island. Even though Rhode Island is the smallest state, the VolunteerMatch website shows that there is a current need for almost 4,000 volunteers across the state!
If you find yourself living outside of New England or are unable to access some of the community service opportunities above, there are always small things that you can do on your own to serve your community! These are things such as donating blood, dropping off a can of food at the local food pantry, or even bringing those coats and hats from your younger days to your local public school department. Even though these things are all small, if we can all do something, they add up! Let us know what your favorite way to do community service is at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!