Give a Helping Hand
by Kendra Satterwhite, PR and Marketing Intern
Since March of 2020, the percentage of adults who have experienced depression has tripled. Lockdowns, financial worries, and lack of social engagement have had a serious impact on our mental health. The CDC has published guidelines to help people cope with the stress that comes with the pandemic. Eating healthy meals, getting regular sleep and taking breaks from news stories all made the list. Many studies indicate that volunteering should also be considered.
There was a global surge of volunteering in food banks and the Red Cross. Those who chose to volunteer their time may be exempt from the downgrade in mental health associated with the pandemic.
Volunteering has long been associated with better mental health. According to a study by the Journal of Happiness Studies, which studied over 70,000 participants, people who volunteer felt more satisfied in their lives.
"Simply put, those who give back, feel better because of it."
The frequency of volunteering has a big impact on the benefits. The study found that those who volunteered once a month had better mental health than those who did so infrequently.
As an intern, I am a volunteer of sorts. While I don’t directly interact with the kids often, I love knowing that my job is to promote a mission that works to serve them. I have felt more satisfied in this experience than in past jobs. I’m happier coming to work knowing that what I do serves a greater purpose.
One of the AHF family services interns, Lydia, agrees that volunteering has made a difference in her life: “Volunteering has definitely helped me through my life and has allowed me to see the bigger picture. Putting your life in perspective helps you understand what is important. I have enjoyed being an intern with Austin Hatcher Foundation and find I am happier knowing I am making a difference.”
“It is very fulfilling to be able to give back to the community during hard times. It’s a blessing to have this new perspective and being able to be there for people,” said Sarah, AHF OT intern.
Non-profits as a whole have struggled through the pandemic. A survey by the Nonprofit Leadership Center discovered that the biggest worry most have is due to canceled fundraising events and loss of partners. The economic stress put on many have limited individual charitable giving. Almost half of those surveyed expect to meet their revenue goals.
People often get caught up in their busy lives. There are always things that need to get done, but I encourage you to take time to pause. Pause and ask yourself, how you are doing? Are there changes that need to be made? Would it be beneficial for you to do something for someone else today?
The Austin Hatcher Foundation has many volunteering opportunities. There are weekly needs for volunteers at our virtual learning sessions as well as family programs like Parents Night Out, Time for You, and our upcoming Spring Break Camp.
TEAM NLC. “Survey Reveals Impact of COVID-19 and 2020 Challenges on Nonprofits at Year-End.” Nonprofit Leadership Center, 16 Nov. 2020, nlctb.org/news/survey-results-covid-19-impact-on-nonprofits/.