Volunteering: The Best Way to Your Best Self

By Brad Kirshenbaum, Director of Marketing and Recruitment

 

We always hear the pleas: “Give your time to [insert worthy cause here]” and so often our natural instinct is to respond with, “I wish I could, but I just don’t have the time.” What if that question looked different?

“Excuse me. Do you have any interest in making new friends, relieving stress, being more active or advancing your career?”

I know what they say about assumptions, but I think we can assume that most people would say they have time for at least one of those things. Now tell them they can do all of that and more in only a few hours each month.

Sign.

Me.

Up.

Giving your time to a young person has so many more benefits than the obvious and enormous outcomes associated with having a mentor.

Networking

Did you know that Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts events each month for our matches to meet and hang out? These serve as a great opportunity to meet new people in the community and develop new relationships, both personal and professional. Our mentors come from all walks of life, from corporate executives to college students.  So often they serve as tremendous resources for career growth. Our agency events also provide excellent opportunities to meet friends. It is a regular occurrence for individuals who just moved to Omaha to meet their friend group through Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s a great pre-screener: our Bigs are passionate, caring, fun individuals… the kind of friend anyone would want.

Relieving Stress

Who among us does not occasionally think they are still a Toys “R” Us (RIP) kid at heart and want to go back to a time where they could relive childhood, if only for a bit? As a 33 year old man who does not yet have children of his own, there are not a ton of opportunities to go see a Pixar movie, play video games or spend a day shooting hoops at the park. However, you add a 7-14 year old in the mix and suddenly you are back in 1994 hanging out and unconcerned with the responsibilities that await you at the end of the day. A Harvard Health study showed that people who give their time to a worthy cause demonstrated markedly lower stress levels.

Advancing Your Career

Just because your job is not to work with kids does not mean that mentoring youth will not help you climb the corporate ladder. The Omaha metro area is a philanthropic community and loves to see its workers invested and there is no greater investment than in the future of its young people. Employers report that job seekers who donate their time often perform better in interviews. Working with kids requires many skills, but most importantly listening and storytelling: in other words, developing communication skills. What is the most sought after skill amongst employers? Well I will just leave this HERE.

Time is a precious commodity in all of our lives and so often when talking about becoming a Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple I am told, “I just do not have the time.”  However, in only four hours per month you can expand your social network, improve your happiness and advance your career, all while helping a kid in need. I would be willing to bet your response will shift from, “I just do not have the time” to “I think I am getting more out of this than my mentee!”

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