Why You Should Volunteer

Besides Because It’ll Impress Your Mom

Maybe you want a break from your usual schedule of work, the gym and your favorite watering hole. It happens. Occasionally we want something new. Ideally, the new thing would also give us a chance to chat up women, because that never gets old. So, I?m here to tell you that volunteering is the thing for you. Not a single woman would ever look at you in a negative light when you proclaim that, yes, occasionally you do do some volunteer work. But beyond that obvious benefit, here are some other reasons why you should give volunteering a try.

Cool Things to Do. Want to see the opera, but don?t want to pay $100 for something you?re not sure you?ll like? Want to check out the ballet, but don?t want to admit it to your friends or your credit card company? Easy, volunteer. Most performing arts companies offer opportunities to volunteer as an usher. (For example, here and here.) For the commitment of a little of your time helping little old ladies find their seats, you can enjoy some wonderful productions. In fact, if you see things that you can?t normally afford or an event that?s sold out (like this) check to see if there are volunteer opportunities.

Seeing New Things. Volunteering and getting to see shows is a pretty obvious benefit, but there are other ways to volunteer your time and be rewarded. For example, the HandsOn Network has a list of volunteer organizations in your area, each with different opportunities. In the L.A. area, you can feed, clean and socialize with rabbits (and teach them the dangers of Elmer Fudd ? or if you don?t like wascally wabbits, help Sylvester the Cat and Spike the Bulldog), assist kids with arts and crafts, remove non-native plants in a wetland, or clear brush at the Gibbon Conservation Center. This is just after a quick glance through the calendar. There are plenty of other opportunities in L.A., not to mention your local area.

Meeting People with the Same Interests. Once you choose projects that interest you, guess what, you?re going to be meeting people that have gone through the same thought process. It?s more than likely why they decided to volunteer as well. It?s easy to tell what you have in common when you both are walking dogs or helping kids with their homework by being an after school tutor. (Well, unless you?re helping with English and she?s helping with math. Icky math ? which is said for comic effect only when children aren?t present. We have to catch up to those Scandinavians in math.)

Helping Out. Which leads to the last point, what all of these activities have in common is that you are helping. Helping the little old lady. Helping abandoned pets. Helping kids with homework. Helping regular Joes and Janes with keeping up the world. The reason the volunteer opportunities offer these cool benefits like tickets or the permission to grab a seat and watch a show, is because you?re helping them keep margins down on the cost of arts. The reason why you get a tour of the Gibbon Conservation Center to see what they?re doing is so that you can see the value you add and then talk about it and tell your friends so that they might support it as well.

Then again, most of the time, it?s just the helping itself that is the reward as it?s nice to give someone a hand. If we meet cool people or see a show, well then, that?s a great bonus. And, again, this can only help when you mention it to your many lady friends.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."