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December 22, 2015

How volunteering puts any New Year’s resolution into action

The new year is the start of the new you! By now you’ve probably already started thinking of your New Year’s resolution. Maybe you plan on making a difference or becoming healthier. Whatever your resolution may be, volunteering may help you achieve your goal. Here’s how.

Your resolution is to give back to your community

Reading Partners collaborates with under-resourced schools to provide effective, supplementary reading support to the students who need it most. You, as a volunteer, will help provide resources that these students would not otherwise receive, putting kids in your community on a path to success.

In a study called “Doing Good is Good For You,” 95 percent of participants said they felt their volunteer work was helping to make their community a better place. By spending one hour a week with a student, you will directly affect the educational opportunities for kids in your community. You will be able to see your student’s reading skills improve, and can easily see the impact you are making on a child and in a school.

Your resolution is to get healthier

Research shows that volunteering has surprising health benefits, including positively influencing a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health, making volunteering a great option if you are trying to improve your health.

In the same study on volunteers, 76 percent of participants said that volunteering made them feel healthier, and 80 percent felt they had control over their health while volunteering. Additionally, 78 percent of people from the study felt that their volunteer work helped to lower their stress level, and 94 percent noticed an improved mood as a result of their volunteering. So this year, de-stress and live healthier by becoming a reading partner.

Your resolution is to spend time with a loved one

Sharing your volunteer experience with a friend or loved one will bring a newfound sense of joy and purpose to your life. Though all Reading Partners tutoring happens one-on-one, you can celebrate with one another when your students make progress with their reading skills. You can collaborate to come up with new ways of encouraging your students, or rewarding them for a great session. And having someone to talk about your volunteering with will make it a much more impactful experience.

Meredith and her mom, Carol, show how giving back can help loved ones form a powerful bond. 

Your resolution is to make an impact on someone’s life

Your time spent helping a student learn to read can completely alter his or her life path. Early education is the key to success in later years, but unfortunately many kids are falling behind early on. Currently, only about one third of our nation’s fourth graders can read proficiently, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the statistics are even more staggering for low-income students.

By focusing volunteer efforts on under-resourced schools, volunteer reading partners can begin to break the cycle of poverty by giving young students the attention and resources they need to catch up to their peers. Even more rewarding, volunteers become mentors, friends, and allies to their students, building kids’ self confidence and helping them think positively about their studies.

Your resolution is to do things that make you happy

By volunteering with Reading Partners, you will see your impact on a child; but you will also see an impact on your own happiness and sense of purpose. With each smile your student gives you, or each high-five you share, you will grow to enjoy your time as a reading partner more and more. It might even become your favorite hour of the week!

It’s no secret that volunteering makes people happier. Ninety-six percent of the people involved in the study, “Doing Good is Good For You,” said volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life. Volunteering is also associated with lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction, and enhanced well-being. Your one hour a week spent as a reading partner is well worth your time and energy, and will bring you immense joy.

So, what are you waiting for? Become a reading partner today and start achieving your New Year’s resolution!

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