The mass at CIWA had just ended and everyone was in a hurry to leave the church main hall, appointments, hunger, children, fatigue and all. I was very thirsty and needed a drink so I joined the dashing crowd that struggled to get out through a door three feet wide. I was about scaling through when I looked down behind me to see a man in a wheel chair with his aid pushing hard onthe wheels. Instinctively, I joined and then I was joined by about two other persons. Within a flash, we were all out, and alive. Instantly, I felt this surge of happiness within, the kind I was not able to get during the church service. By the look on the faces of the other volunteers, I was certain they felt the same way too.
When we help others we feel happy. There appears to be a direct correlation with overall well-being and giving our time, money or other resources to a cause that we are passionate about. Studies suggest that people who volunteer report better health and more happiness than people who do not volunteer. According to a study in Social Science & Medicine, a person who volunteers more than monthly, but less than weekly is 12% more likely to report being very happy and a person who volunteers weekly is 16% more likely to report being very happy. Volunteering weekly feels like moving from an income of less than 20,000 to an income between 75,000 and 100,000! So, there are definitely some perks to helping others. With all of these benefits, it’s important to get youth involved in making a difference at an early age.
10 Ways to Help Others:
- Volunteer. Whether it’s serving meals at a homeless shelter, or orchestrating a clothing drive, there are numerous ways for everyone to get plugged into the community and make a difference. It doesnot have to be the very big things.
- Hand out blankets. There are millions of homeless people in the Nigeria. Many of those are sleeping on the streets. While a single blanket may seem like a drop in the bucket to the vast level of need, a blanket can keep one person from shivering in the cold. No matter the size of the contribution, when you are on the receiving end it feels big. Plus, teens can learn that it only takes one person to start a domino effect.
- Help a neighbor. Too often we neglect those who may need us the most, our immediate family and neighbors. Whether it’s taking over some warm cookies, mowing a lawn, or offering a night of free babysitting, one simple act can go a long way to make a difference in someone’s day.
- Beautify the community. Spend some time sprucing up the community, collect litter strewn on curbsides, plant some flowers in the park, or throw a fresh coat of paint on fences. Research shows that beautification is a top factor in establishing community attachment and belonging.
- Visit a motherless home. Day in and day out some of the most treasured people are often forgotten. One visit from an energetic teen can spark a smile and fond trip down memory lane. Whether it’s a lesson in history, or words of wisdom, our senior citizens have so much to offer our teens. This is a gift in which both parties are truly the recipient!
- Hold the door open for others. Not only does holding open a door say “I notice you,” but it also says “I care enough to stop what I am doing to help.”
- Donate gently used items to charity. What a great way to accomplish two things at once, clean out the closet and give items to those in need. Go through closets each season, you'll be surprised at how much unimportant can accumulate with time.
- Organize an event. Whether it’s organizing a local book drive for children in the hospital or collecting cans of food for the local food pantry, there’s always need that’s waiting to be filled.
- Pay someone a compliment. Nothing can turn someone’s day around like a compliment. A compliment is a great way to say “I recognized something really good about you…” Make someone feel good for a moment and you may get to feel same for an entire day.
110. Give to charity. Saving allowance is a wonderful way to teach money management. What if youth would take a small amount of their allowance and donate it to something they were passionate about?
When we light the life of the person next to us, we are the very first beneficiaries of that light!