SERVICE TO COMMUNITY BUILDS STRENGTH
At Northwest Passage, we know that service to others not only provides benefits to those who receive but also to those who give. This therapeutic lifestyle choice works to improve one’s health through a number of avenues. On the most basic level, an effective way to distract from emotional distress is to contribute to others who may be experiencing some manner of distress of their own. Purposefully turning attention from internal strife, outward to the lives of others is both an exercise of empathy and mindfulness. Research has shown that community service bolsters the physical and mental health of participants. Finally, reaching out to volunteer or help others in their environment can offer a path for youth to build connections with the world around them. It has been shown that such connections can have a positive and healing effect on all humans.
Do Good to Feel Good
FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN
Community Service Changes Lives
“BY LEARNING GENEROSITY AND SERVICE TO COMMUNITY, WE DEVELOP A BROADER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WORLD AROUND ONE’S SELF.”
LEARNING FOR JUSTICE
Learning for Justice provides free resources to caregivers and educators—teachers, administrators, counselors, and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use the materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children and youth are respected, valued, and welcome participants.
EFFECTS OF VOLUNTEERING ON THE VOLUNTEER
Wilson and Musick offer a great look into why service is an important part of our work at Passage:
- Cultural, personal interest, and community organizations are particularly likely to have members scoring high in generalized trust and in reciprocity with neighbors.
- Students who had been active in volunteer organizations and social movements while in college belonged to more civic organizations and were more politically engaged than non-activists a decade later.
- Studies indicate that volunteering can inhibit anti-social behavior, albeit to a modest degree.
- By helping others, individuals may develop stronger networks that buffer stress and reduce disease risk.
- Volunteering can foster trust and intimacy and encourage the provider to anticipate that reciprocal help will be forthcoming when it is needed.
4-H & Service
IS VOLUNTEERING A PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTION? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF THE HEALTH AND SURVIVAL OF VOLUNTEERS
- The United Nations defines volunteering as an act of free will that results in benefits to others outside of, or in addition to support given to close family members.
- The main reason given for volunteering tends to be altruistic, such as to ‘give something back’ to their community, or to an organization or charity that has supported them in some way.
- In terms of dosage, however, more volunteering would have greater effects on physical activity and associated physical health outcomes. However, it emerges the opposite may be true for mental health; i.e. less volunteering may be more beneficial.
- Synthesis of observational data suggests that people who choose to volunteer are at a lower risk of mortality, and may experience some benefits in terms of physical and mental health.
FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE ARE GOOD FOR THE HEART AND SOUL
IT’S ALL CONNECTED… The individual elements of the PassageWay are deeply ingrained with one another. Below are a couple of our favorite stories in which our kids revealed the beauty of service to others.