January is the time for resolutions. Why not make a resolution to be more involved in your community in 2013? Here are some benefits to volunteering in your community:
• Experience. Volunteering can provided you with valuable workplace experience and sometimes open doors for employment. You may gain experience that you would not be able to obtain in your regular job. Or perhaps you have skills that you are not able to utilize in your current employement. Volunteering may provide you opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
• Change of pace. Sometimes it’s just nice to think about something different. Everyone has stress in their lives, and sometimes we are bored. There are a variety of reasons why you may enjoy a diversion, but doing something different than normal can improve your attitude.
• Build community. Volun-teer efforts bring people together and create a sense of community and shared purpose. That’s an important base that can be used to accomplish even greater things.
• Pay your dues. When you volunteer you get a real sense of giving something back. We’ve all benefitted from an effort that was orchestrated by another set of volunteers. Now it’s your turn.
• Increase your network. When you get to work with others outside your normal circle of contacts, you meet new people. You never know when that new acquaintance or friend will come in handy.
• Make a difference. It may sound cliché, but you really can change the world. Often a little improvement can serve a springboard for bigger ideas and inspire others to get involved.
• Have fun. With hard work, there is often a unique experience of good times, laughter and fun combined with that sense of accomplishment. Working together on a project builds a real sense of comradeship, and we have the opportunity to see others in a new light. You share at least one interest with your fellow volunteers and that is often the basis for great friendships.
When you do decide that you want to volunteer, remember to be ready to listen to others and respect new ideas. That doesn’t mean you abandon your own opinions, just be receptive to others. Going into a volunteer situation with an open mind and a great attitude will make the experience enjoyable for you and for the other volunteers you are working with.
Bring on 2013!
Centerville Chamber of Commerce, 128 N. 12th St., Centerville, 641-437-4102, www.centerville-ia.com.