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How to Be a Healthy and Happy - Volunteer!


Recent studies have shown that volunteering correlates with good health. Ghent University in the Netherlands did a study analyzing data on volunteering, employment and health of more than 40,000 European citizens. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improvement to self-esteem and self-efficacy
  • Increases physical and cognitive activity
  • Releases oxytocin and progesterone that has the ability to regulate stress.

Volunteering serves others and helps you get to know your community while receiving valuable experience and other benefits in return. Here’s more information and resources if you’re interested in reading and learning about volunteering!



Can We Help? Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities by George Ancona

Real kids make a real difference in their communities in this vibrantly photographed chronicle by George Ancona. Young humanitarians reading these accounts may well be inspired to find ways that they can help, too.

The Third Wave: A Volunteer Story by Alison Thompson

The Third Wave tells the inspiring story of how volunteering changed Alison Thompson’s life. It begins with her first real introduction to disaster relief after 9/11 and ends with her more recent efforts in Haiti, where she has helped create and run, with Sean Penn, an internally-displaced-person camp and field hospital for more than 65,000 Haitians who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake. Thompson provides an invaluable inside glimpse into what really happens on the ground after a disaster—and a road map for what anyone can do to help. As Alison Thompson shows, with some resilience, a healthy sense of humor, and the desire to make a difference, we all have what it takes to change the world for the better.

Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World

Are you looking for a more meaningful travel experience? Do you want to give back to the communities you visit, make a genuine connection with locals, meet like-minded travellers and build your skills? International volunteering opens up all these opportunities, and this book has all the advice you need to get you there.

Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others by Bill McMillon

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference while on vacation—simultaneously getting away and using your talents to improve the world—this guide shows you how a short-term volunteer stint can transform your life as much as the people, animals, and ecology you choose to help. This fully updated edition is filled with in-depth information and profiles of 150 select organizations, more than 40 new in this edition, running thousands of quality programs in the United States and around the world.

Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family’s Lives Forever by John Marshall

For readers of Three Cups of Tea; Eat, Pray, Love; and Wild comes the inspiring story of an ordinary American family that embarks on an extraordinary journey. Wide-Open World follows the Marshall family as they volunteer their way around the globe, living in a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica, teaching English in rural Thailand, and caring for orphans in India. There's a name for this kind of endeavor--voluntourism--and it might just be the future of travel.

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