Volunteering: good for the community, good for your health

If you’re making a resolution for the New Year — or if you’re looking for something rewarding to do — you might consider volunteering. As a volunteer, you help contribute to the well-being of others in the community. And there’s a growing amount of research that shows volunteering is good for your well-being, too.

“Many studies show that volunteering is good for your mind and body,” says Thomas Patamia, MD, Behavior Health Services at Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill campus in Seattle. “Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. Volunteering also combats depression by kindling happiness. The more we help others and give, the happier we feel.”

Benefits of volunteering

“Many people find that volunteer work gives their life purpose and meaning,” says Dr. Eric B. Larson, vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington and author of Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long Active Life. “Often they find it more gratifying to them than the work they did for pay in their careers,” he adds. “So there’s a double benefit, better health and a more meaningful life.”

3 wonderful ways to volunteer

Along with providing great health care to people all around the state, Kaiser Permanente also contributes to our communities in a number of other ways. These include 3 wonderful opportunities to volunteer.

Volunteer at the Special Olympia 2018 USA Games in SeattleSpecial Olympics USA Games

Seattle will be hosting the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games from July 1 through July 6. As the Official Health Partner of the Games, Kaiser Permanente is encouraging people to volunteer at the event.

“Supporting athletes to be the best they can be, through sideline care and medical planning, has given me renewed energy and put many of my daily work and personal challenges into perspective,” says Jessie Fudge, MD, a Kaiser Permanente physician and Chief Medical Officer for the USA Games.

“Making our community a positive and healthy place requires all of us to give a little. The Special Olympics USA Games is the perfect opportunity for us all to come together and contribute to something bigger.”

The Games need 10,000 volunteers, from booth staffers to athlete supporters to fans in the stands. It’s a great way for you and your family to support the more than 3,000 Special Olympics athletes who are coming from around the country to participate. With track, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, and more, it’s bound to be an amazing event. You can sign up here.

Hospice care

Few opportunities engage your heart, mind, and spirit like hospice care. Our hospice volunteer team helps provide support to families and patients as they experience a terminal illness. You can serve others in a variety of ways, from reading aloud to patients to offering respite support for caregivers to simply being there as a caring, non-judgmental presence. Free training is provided. For more information, call James D’Amanda at 206-326-2338 for King/Snohomish counties; call Julia Casey at 253-274-4635 for Pierce/Kitsap counties.

Transportation assistance

If you like to drive and get out and about, then being a volunteer driver is a terrific way to volunteer. You can make a big difference in the lives of senior patients in King County who need assistance getting to medical appointments. Driving is a convenient, flexible way to volunteer. You use your own vehicle to transport members when, where, and how often it works for you. Rides are offered Monday through Friday, mileage is reimbursed, and supplemental liability insurance is provided. Interested? Email Lisa Hirohata at kpwa.resource-L@kp.org or call 206-326-2815.

#GiveServeThrive: share your favorite ways to volunteer

Martin Luther King Jr. day is a day of service for many Kaiser Permanente staff. On social media, our staff will share their favorite ways to give back with the hashtag #GiveServeThrive, and we encourage you to do the same.

Tell us, or show us, how you like to volunteer by posting to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the #GiveServeThrive hashtag.