Volunteer to Better Health Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Volunteer to Better Health

Volunteerism and Personal Development

While an academic definition of volunteerism is any activity in which time and talent is given freely to deliver services or perform tasks to benefit another person, group or cause with no direct financial compensation expected, volunteering is really just a more organized form of giving of ourselves to contribute in some way to shape our own future and that of others.

Surveys show that most people believe that helping others has a positive effect on the general well-being of both the donor and the recipient. The positive relationship between subjective and objective well-being and volunteer work include life-satisfaction, self-esteem, and self-rated health. Also, volunteers increase the opportunity to advance educational and occupational objectives when exploring the idea that volunteering benefits both the helper and the helped.

It has also been suggested that the degree of one's well-being in helping redress the damaging affects of our modern-day culture of disconnection would facilitate a higher amount of volunteer work, thus reinforcing the fact that all of our actions contribute in some way to shaping our own future and that of others. According to recent studies about the personal benefits derived from volunteering - enjoyment of the activity, meeting new people and building friendships, the desire to make a real difference, and a sense of personal achievement - were highlighted as key incentives. While these are important benefits it is suggested that the maintenance of good health, by helping to halt the effects of diseases and disorders - psychological and physical - is even more so.

Exchange theory assumes that people must act in a self-interested manner in order for social equilibrium to be achieved, placing their own interests before those of others, but a competing theory argues that people's identity is important and that many people think of themselves as the kind of person who helps others regardless of whether their actions receive praise (Hart et al. 1996, Schervish & Havens 1997:240). This theory, better than exchange theory, might explain why it is often easier to get people to sign up for risky, challenging, demanding work than for mundane, trivial, and routine tasks: "they want to be challenged by what they're doing, and they don't hesitate to do something that's going to be hard" (Chambre 1991:276).

Volunteering is a meaningful way for people to become integrated into their community. While many seek to explore their creative powers and sense of spiritual identity through helping others, they also derive numerous personal health benefits from these activities such as a sense of inner-satisfaction while they are nurturing the well-being of the community. Volunteering increases one's physical health and agility, particularly older persons who volunteer have fewer medical problems and are less prone to incidences of heart disease and diabetes. Volunteering assumes an especially important role among the elderly because it can 'inoculate' them from hazards of retirement, which may include feelings of worthlessness and depression - which proliferates physical decline and inactivity.

Volunteering increases one's physical health and agility -- volunteer activities help older persons stay physically active. Older adults, who engage in regular physical activity, whether moderate or intense, have lower incidences of heart disease and diabetes and are at lower risk for other cardiovascular diseases." (Trojcak)

The challenge of volunteerism and personal development is to cultivate a positive attitude regarding one's values and overall life practices; and a greater sense of integration between oneself and the world. Important skills for the volunteer to develop are leadership skills, creative expression, role relationships, team building, innovation, collaborative problem-solving, conceptual thinking and resourcefulness. It is also vital that the volunteer be perceptive to envisage how objective experiences will affect his or her personal values, perception and life goals; and how these will effect his or her personal development. (Volunteerism and Personal)

Other studies have been performed to find the correlation between male and female volunteerism. It was revealed that human capital, motivations and beliefs, as well as social resources help explain gender differences in volunteering. "Female volunteers scored higher on measures of altruism and empathy and attach more value to helping others, while male volunteers are also likely to readily provide civic skills on which much volunteering depends. Resources work better for men than women; for example, education has a stronger effect on the volunteering of men than women, at least in the political sphere (Schlozman et al. 1994:969). There is some evidence, however, that women compensate for their lack of human capital by having more social resources, which brings their volunteer rate closer to that of men (Wilson & Musick 1997a).

(Wilson 215)

Volunteering today differs vastly from its function a century ago. While the impetus of volunteerism and social welfare shifted from initially being mainly dependent on individual efforts and eventually becoming more the responsibility of the state, the focus at the dawn of the 21st Century has once again reverted from being reliant on professional service workers to the community to step in to take care of its own.

The dependency on volunteerism is today greater than ever. Changing fiscal policies mean reduced funding to voluntary organizations despite new service-oriented groups being formed out of necessity, such as rape crisis centers, shelters for abused women and children; and victims of war and violent crime, and even informal gestures of volunteerism to help others such as organizing a used clothing or canned food drive at work, shopping for a neighbor who is homebound, serving as a mentor for children or giving blood.

Volunteerism, many have observed, has little to do with being a 'do- gooder'. It is about valuing the person, and increasing the value of social and human resources; it is about self-esteem, freely sharing one's talent and wisdom; it is about being valued, not paid; it is about empowerment, growth and creativity; it is about enhancing the community's quality of life. It is also about having fun in the process." (Volunteering and Healthy Aging)

The extent to which both official and spontaneous volunteerism is performed was clearly evident during the terrorist attacks on September 11 nearly two years ago when more than 3,000 people were killed. It was an event that was to rekindle the spirit of generosity, humanity and concern for people in distress on an international scale. The event also promoted citizen preparedness and increased the support of volunteerism.

Disasters affect people in many ways and volunteers need to be receptive to the emotions, feelings and physical symptoms that the victims may be experiencing and have the ability to reduce the stress to begin the healing process. However, it is not impossible for a volunteer to also embrace some warranted emotions such as shock and fear pertaining to a tragedy, but it is important to focus on the positive by reaching out to other's who are in need. Studies have shown that through volunteerism one is able to resolve negative personal emotions, which is good for the body and the soul because it reduces the risk of illness.

In conclusion, promoting better health and well-being to both volunteer and persons in need of help, volunteerism and personal development is the pivot around which a social network that provides both emotional benefits and actual assistance in time of need revolves. For the recipient, the mere reassurance that help is available inspires positive feelings that act as a buffer against stress and illness. Studies have shown that a patient's disease-fighting ability or struggle for survival can be greatly strengthened by his or her own positive thoughts and as well as comforting, re-assuring words from people who genuinely care. People with increased social contact have fewer health risk factors, such as physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

Volunteering makes people feel good about themselves, which translate into a general sense of health," notes…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:


Cite This Term Paper:

"Volunteer To Better Health" (2004, April 05) Retrieved December 2, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/volunteer-to-better-health-167207

"Volunteer To Better Health" 05 April 2004. Web.2 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/volunteer-to-better-health-167207>

"Volunteer To Better Health", 05 April 2004, Accessed.2 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/volunteer-to-better-health-167207

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Health Prevention Programs

    Health Promotion Lesson Plan The concept of health promotion is thought of as "the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health" (Dunphy et al., 2011, p 25). Serious heart conditions can be prevented, which is why it is so important to utilize community education techniques in order to help try to warn community members of the complications before they occur. This

  • Healthcare Spending by the New York State

    Healthcare spending by the New York State persistently surpasses its earnings. That difference continues to be expanding and is also anticipated to broaden unless of course there happen to be severe, continuous modifications in spending budget actions. Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, in "A 5-Year Strategy to Deal with the State of New York's Spending budget Deficit" released during March 2010, approximated this structural disproportion within the state's spending budget to

  • Health Maintenance Organization Impact on

    " (AAFP, nd) The Health Maintenance Organization further should "…negotiate with both public and private payers for adequate reimbursement or direct payment to cover the expenses of interpreter services so that they can establish services without burdening physicians…" and the private industry should be "…engaged by medical organizations, including the AAFP, and patient advocacy groups to consider innovative ways to provide interpreter services to both employees and the medically underserved." (AAFP,

  • Health and Wellness Programs Research

    According to Zoller, scholars and/or practitioners proponents of workplace health promotion (WHP) generally assume that employees universally welcome the programs. Perhaps, the primary delimitation that could be contributed to health and wellness programs would be that one of the other would not be wanted by employees. Consequently, health promotion literature that deems the programs to be "pro-social" endeavors designed in employees' best interests frequently fail to engage employees' participation. Additional delimitations

  • Health Care Law Privacy and

    S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). Furthermore, subpart C explains the privileges and the protections of confidentiality that is attached to the patient's record along with much exception (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). The penalty for anyone who breaks confidentiality is imperative. In "November, 23, 2009" was increased to $11,000 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). This goes for anyone in the medical field

  • Health Care Financing Issue Analysis

    While the study had a number of scientific limitations; the two most significant were: 1) although the response rate of interns that volunteered to participate was 80%, those that did participate may not have been representative; and 2) the case-crossover analysis cannot account for the contribution of within-person factors that may have been co-variables with exposure status. Evaluation As a result of the related research, hospitals will be using medical resident

  • Health Care Services for the

    1903). The management goal for HCH is to improve the effectiveness of health care delivery to the homeless and indigent of Milwaukee in close partnership with the community. In this regard, the management of the HCH community health center requires careful and timely coordination between the community health care specialists, including family practice physicians and advanced practice nurses, who provide accessible primary care preventive health services. There are also management

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved