I was shocked when I went to New Orleans with Blog Tour NOLA, in 2013, to find people still displaced from their homes since hurricane Katrina. I toured neighborhoods that were still trying to rebuild their homes and couldn’t believe it had been close to eight years later…what??? One successful initiative was The Make It Right Foundation spearheaded by Brad Pitt two years after Hurricane Katrina. The Lower 9th Ward was Pitt’s focus after he was shocked by the lack of rebuilding progress in the historic working class community.
He focused on building safe, sustainable homes in the most devastated part of New Orleans. In collaboration with GRAFT architects, the organization convened 21 world-renowned architects to design climate-adapted, Eco-friendly homes, informed by William McDonough’s, Cradle to Cradle design principles.
You don’t have to be rich to give back. It’s possible to make a difference even when you’re volunteering your time instead of your money. All in all, every little bit helps. Here are a handful of benefits to being charitable.
1. You’ll develop new skills and knowledge. You may even become an expert in something new! When you volunteer, you put yourself in new situations and face challenges. You may even be able to add your experience to your resume.
2. You’ll expand your social network. This is especially beneficial for people who may not have a strong social life, like new students, retirees, or people who recently moved to a new location. When you volunteer, you’ll fill your day and meet new people.
3. You’ll help your specific community. It’s great to help the world overall, but it’s sometimes even more rewarding to help the community where you live. Plus, you’ll show other locals that you care for and appreciate where you live.
4. You’ll grow as a person. You’ll figure out what you like and dislike. You’ll discover new hobbies or careers that you’re interested in. Volunteering is a great way expose yourself to a new career to find out whether or not you like it.
5. You’ll get a new perspective on the world and on life. It can be difficult to appreciate everything you have when bad times drag you down. When you volunteer, you can boost your mood by doing good for other people. Plus, you may be able to put your worries in perspective. Individuals and companies like Palmco and ACCO dedicate themselves to giving back because of all the good it does for everyone involved.
6. You’ll feel appreciated and needed. It’s important to feel like you have a place in the world. When you volunteer, your time and effort is valued. The things you do aren’t taken for granted or even expected. You’ll love the feeling of having others depend on you.
7. Your self-esteem will skyrocket. A lot of volunteers say that they’re more confident after volunteering. Why? You feel good about yourself because you’re doing something wonderful for other people.
Whether you opt to donate time or money, giving back is beneficial, both to you and the recipients.
Images Courtesy of Canva.