ST. GEORGE — Have you ever wanted to volunteer somewhere but you didn’t know what to do? Is your nonprofit organization overwhelmed with a service project and in need of volunteers?
JustServe.org may be just what you need.
JustServe.org is a website provided as a free service by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to match faith, nonprofit, community and governmental organizations that need volunteers with individuals, families, or groups who are willing to fill those needs.
JustServe.org also provides a way for potential volunteers to more easily find service opportunities in their communities. Volunteer opportunities are posted on JustServe.org by those organizations in need of volunteers to help with their service needs. As a volunteer, JustServe.org makes it simple to see those needs, sign-up and show up when needed.
JustServe.org was launched in California in 2012 and then expanded into several more states in 2014 and 2015. In June of this year, JustServe.org was introduced to southern Utah in Washington and Iron counties. To date, there are over 100 service projects listed on the website within a 75-mile radius of St. George, all in urgent need of volunteers.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had the capability to get the website started, has the capacity to maintain and improve the site and the commitment to provide it free to our communities long term,” Role Administrator for JustServe.org in the Utah South Area, Brian Tenney said. “Now it’s up to volunteers and approved organizations in our communities in Washington County to avail themselves of the benefits this website offers.”
Following the Biblical admonition to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” the JustServe initiative provides opportunities to relieve suffering, care for the poor and needy and enhance the quality of life in the community. JustServe is not for proselytizing or publicity – simply a service to help link community volunteer needs with volunteers.
Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Terri Cole, licensed Psychotherapist stated:
In grad school, I read studies on the positive emotional impact of volunteerism for the giver. Self-esteem increased and symptoms of depression decreased from becoming an important part of the solution for a person in need. Feel-good hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine may be released when a person sees a direct positive result from their good deeds. The act of being of service and exchanging positive energy with another human is a psychological and emotional win-win.
As we work side-by-side and learn from each other, mutual-understanding increases, misconceptions can be corrected, and new friendships are built.
JustServe.org general guidelines:
- The best service opportunities are collaborative – working side-by-side with others in the community
- Humanitarian service opportunities should assist the poor and those in need of a helping hand
- Community service opportunities should enhance the quality of life in the community
- JustServe.org projects should not directly involve volunteers in fundraising, have a political focus, or be “for-profit” oriented
According to the JustServe website, “We may not solve world hunger here at JustServe, but we’re convinced that by serving with each other in our local communities, we’re paving the way for much broader changes. Our individual efforts don’t need to be huge – a little bit of change here, a few hours there – but even small efforts quickly add up to make a real difference.”
“There are lots of people in the community who want or need to give service,” Tenney said. “This is the ideal place to help them out. This is really about facilitating service in the community. It’s great to see how so much good can be done in the community by the combined efforts provided by individuals, families and groups.”
According to Corporation for National and Community Service:
Over the past two decades we have also seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social ones. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Some of these findings also indicate that volunteers who devote a ‘considerable’ amount of time to volunteer activities (about 100 hours per year) are most likely to exhibit positive health outcomes.
It’s time to get started! Just go to JustServe.org and get registered today, search for projects that suit your area of interest and go serve.
For more information contact Brian Tenney, JustServe.org Role Administrator for the Utah South Area at firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-467-2103. You can find out more about JustServe on our Facebook page or go to JustServe.org.
According to helpguide.org, A trusted nonprofit guide to mental health and well-being, volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health:
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals
- Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease