Volunteering: Good for Your Health and Your Community

Volunteers with the Los Angeles Red Cross
Our volunteers respond to house fires, earthquakes, wildfires, teach life-saving skills, support our military members in the community and so much more on a daily basis. –Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the region.

The week of April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week, and the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region is celebrating its volunteers and the work they do in the community to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Nationally, the Red Cross has nearly 400,000 volunteers, which represents more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. The Los Angeles Region enjoys the support of about 10,000 volunteers.

“Our volunteers respond to house fires, earthquakes, wildfires, teach lifesaving skills, support our military members in the community and so much more on a daily basis,” says Jarrett Barrios, Chief Executive Officer of the region. “They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”

Beyond being good for the Red Cross, volunteering offers a surprising array of health, community, social and even career benefits to the individual volunteers.

  • By volunteering for the Red Cross, you will be connected with a worldwide community of like-minded people focused on helping others in need. You’ll make new friends, expand your network and have a wonderful opportunity to exercise your social skills.
  • Volunteering will help keep you healthy in body and mind. Studies have found this is especially beneficial to older adults. Surprisingly, it has a positive effect on mortality rates and lessening the symptoms of chronic pain. And, the social structure of volunteering can relieve depression and loneliness.
  • Helping others has a “happiness effect.” The Red Cross’ mission is to help others. According to a study in Social Science and Medicine by the London School of Economics, people who volunteer, even once a month, were shown to be 7% happier than non-volunteers.
  • The Red Cross offers training. Adding new skills can give your career a boost, improve your ability to function in a work place, as part of a team and raise your confidence. Problem solving, project planning and implementation, management skills – let the Red Cross sharpen all these aspects of being part of an organization.
  • Here are some reflections from a few of our region’s current volunteers:

    Garima Kumar “Volunteering for Red Cross has given me the opportunity to work with incredible people who have quickly become my friends. I’m grateful to be a part of a team which has turned the organization’s mission into their own personal goals and who motivate me to be a better person. “

    Jonathan Carpenter “The Red Cross has provided great skills training in customer service and networking while assisting clients from all walks of life and partnering with hundreds of other organizations throughout Los Angeles. The Red Cross has given me more than I can ever give back, and I encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to go to that first meeting. It could change your life too!”

    Mary Hunt “The Greater Long Beach chapter is a wonderful place to work...dedicated, friendly people, both staff and volunteers, who care about others. I am always warmly greeted and thanked for being there. I enjoy and look forward to my time there!”

    Volunteer with the Red Cross. It might even be better than yoga. Visit: redcross.org/LA