Wellness Wednesday – Explore, Connect and Discover through Volunteering

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Volunteers make an immeasurable difference in our community by filling the gaps that public service agencies and nonprofit organizations can’t bridge on their own. From coaching youth sports and mentoring students to keeping trash out of the French Broad River and growing fresh food in community gardens, Asheville has plenty of opportunities to get involved. While busy schedules can pose a challenge to finding time, matching with the right organization can help form friendships, build connections with the community, provide a sense of purpose and teach new skills, and improve physical and mental health.

If you have a particular area of interest such as animals, education, food security, or the environment, you may want to connect with individual organizations to explore volunteer opportunities. Hands On Asheville-Buncombe maintains a robust, near-comprehensive database of options to lend a hand locally including remote volunteering. If you are interested in volunteering with Asheville Parks & Recreation, please contact parks@ashevillenc.gov.

According to Mayo Clinic research, volunteering offers many health and wellness benefits, especially for older adults.


Explore new friendships and relationships

group of women working together gathering trashVolunteering increases social interaction and helps nurture relationships based on common interests. One of the best ways to expand your social network and strengthen existing friendships is to commit to a shared activity such as volunteering or participating in a social sports league like sand volleyball, among others.

Many community members prefer “behind-the-scenes” roles. Even if your volunteer commitments are limited to portable, virtual, or remote opportunities, you’ll likely get the chance to practice and develop your social skills.


Connect to mental and physical benefits

man helping older man with walkerIt is impossible for most studies to prove volunteering is directly responsible for health and wellness outcomes. People who volunteer may be more likely to do other things like eat a healthy diet or exercise. However, a variety of research presents results that support volunteering’s help to counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety, increase self-confidence, feel happier, combat depression, and stay physically healthy.



Discover purpose and learn new skills

group of women assembling food packagesJust because volunteer work is unpaid doesn’t mean the skills required are basic. For example, extensive training may be required to become a tutor or crisis counselor. You can also build on your existing skills and use them to benefit your community. Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions.




In addition to volunteer opportunities, Asheville Parks & Recreation is also hiring full time, part time, and seasonal team members including camp counselors, maintenance workers, park wardens, trades workers, and support staff with positions starting at $15 per hour. Applications are available online.


This content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.