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Time spent as a volunteer can be a life-enriching experience

(ran NP editions)

Giving blood, reading to a child, raking leaves, delivering meals, mentoring teens, feeding the homeless, serving others. Volunteering takes many forms and allows people to find something fulfilling to do, share their good fortune or simply reach out to others in need.

The beauty of volunteering is that folks can be volunteers in almost any area of service they find interesting. The reasons for volunteering are as varied as the people who volunteer, but whatever the motive behind the service, volunteering can be rewarding for those serving and those being served.

The following are some of the benefits of volunteering:

Helping others. Volunteering is a way to share your personal gifts and lifetime experiences with others. Many people forget their own worries when they help others and are reminded of the blessings in their lives when they reach out to those in need.

Building skills. Volunteering provides the chance to try something new and challenges individuals to work outside their comfort zone. Many volunteers find new talents when they begin helping others and continue to fine-tune abilities they already possess.

Developing self-expression. Volunteering can help individuals fulfill lifelong dreams and ambitions. Many volunteers choose to serve in an area that fulfills interests that all too often have taken a backseat to school, career and family.

Meeting new people. Volunteering opens doors to new communities, friends and professional contacts.

Creating self-esteem. Many volunteers find that their service builds confidence and healthy attitudes because, as they help others, they are helping themselves. Finding new skills and talents, meeting new people and serving others can truly help you feel good about yourself.

Developing creativity. Volunteering allows you to explore new ways of looking at the world, and you are able to use your special talents and skills to help work through problems.

Exploring new careers. Volunteering is a great way to explore possible career options; it allows you to discover whether or not you like certain kinds of work before you make drastic career changes.