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Do what you love – AND volunteer!

Scientists have confirmed the link between volunteering and improved health and happiness. At the London School of Economics, researchers probed American survey-takers to determine if formal volunteering leads to greater overall well-being. And here’s what they discovered: Yep, it does.

According to the study, the more people volunteer the happier they are. In fact, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among people who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks, according to the report. Other scientific studies draw the same conclusion, which, to be honest, isn’t much of a surprise. Here’s what I’m wondering: Why turn to science when there’s a much easier way to answer these big questions?

Just ask Sue.

Sue is a volunteer at Vision Loss Resources (VLR). Sue is admittedly not a scientist, but she knows from experience that volunteering boosts happiness and well-being, and that it helps a lot of people, and that it makes a difference, and that it’s just plain fun. That’s why she volunteers at the Vision Loss Resources Community Center, where she assists with classes and outings. She also shares her experience with Metro Mobility by riding along with individuals who are just getting started using the service.

Sue would be the first to recommend that you become a volunteer at VLR, too. Volunteer opportunities are numerous and diverse, drawing on individual talents and interests while encouraging the development of new life-long skills.  Are you a crafter, a storyteller, or board game enthusiast? Do you know martial arts? Hi-yah! Are you a tech-person, an aerobics instructor, or a cook? Do you love BINGO? Whatever your passion, whatever your skill level, there’s surely a way to connect what you do—or what you’d like to do—with a fun and rewarding volunteer opportunity that helps advance the mission of VLR.

And what is that mission? Vision Loss Resources creates a community of service, skills and support for people with vision loss. We do this by providing comprehensive rehabilitation and assistive technology training, orientation and mobility training, and a range of physical, mental and emotional support programs. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do all of this without a network of dedicated volunteers.

That’s where you come in—we hope! Whether you are interested in a short-term or one-time volunteer experience or an ongoing position, we’d be happy to have you join us. Our volunteer opportunities are available throughout the Twin Cities and are flexible, accommodating your schedule and interests. We also welcome group volunteer activities – your book club, your family, or an employee group – we have lots of opportunities to share a volunteer experience.

To learn more about what we do and how you can become a volunteer, call 612 843-3401 or send a message to volunteer@vlrw.org. You’ll learn how how you can help someone with vision loss or blindness live more independently, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and connect with their community.

We hope to talk with you soon!

Jen Wittek is the Volunteer Services Manager at Vision Loss Resources – helping people to do what they love AND volunteer – to build a community of support for low vision.

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