Did you know that volunteering your time and efforts is actually GOOD FOR YOU?! There is even research that shows it may be just as (if not more) beneficial for the volunteers as it is for the people and/or animals receiving assistance through the volunteers. This research, which is presented by Corporation for National and Community Service in a report titled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research,” has demonstrated a significant relationship between volunteering and health. For example, those who volunteer have been shown to have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.
These studies have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, No one is positive why, though. It could be because they are more likely to face a higher incidence of illness or maybe it’s because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing drastically.
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.
Forget about 100 hours per year, Harold Hager dedicates about 20 hours EVERY WEEK to bettering the lives of others through his volunteer work at Steuben County’s Habitat for Humanity in New York. This is the second year in a row that Harold has dedicated more time than any of their other volunteers. Why is this so remarkable? Well, did I mention that Harold Hager turned 100 years old this year? It sounds like he definitely understands the benefits of volunteer work, and we could all learn a little something from Harold!
Matthew Harmer, the marketing and outreach coordinator for Steuben County’s Habitat for Humanity had this to say about Harold: “Harold has been with us for a few years years now, and he’s the volunteer who does the most number of hours here.” It’s no question that they appreciate his hard work!.
Harold is an awesome inspiration to so many people, myself included! At an RSVP event in May, Hager was recognized for his hard work and dedication. He declared his next goal is to reach the age of 105, but no matter what, he said he plans to live out the rest of his life giving back to those around him. He has spent the last 100 years of his life helping others and asking for nothing in return. He served in the Navy during World War II, helped deliver food to those in need during a flood in 1972 and joined RSVP, a group that helps retired senior citizens volunteer for local organizations, in 2010. RSVP paired Hager with Habitat for Humanity in New York’s Steuben County, where he does everything from test light fixtures to sort screws.