April brings National Volunteer Week, a great time to thank the more than 125,000 Canadians who give their time to the Foundation
We love our Heart and Stroke Foundation volunteers. Whether they are raising funds, sharing their expertise or helping deliver programs, they are creating more survivors.
They include people like Claude, a volunteer at the Foundation’s office in Jonquiere, Que., for more than 20 years; like Sam, a high school student who volunteers each week in Charlottetown, doing everything from answering calls to changing outdoor signs; and like Melissa, whose two children had perinatal strokes and who helps out in our Calgary office in many ways, including supporting door-to-door canvassing.
Their efforts benefit all Canadians. So it’s only fair that our volunteers benefit too.
Here’s how giving time can give back to your well being.
- Volunteering can reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Older adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours a year decrease their risk of high blood pressure by 40 per cent, according to a 2013 study from Carnegie Mellon University. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease.
- Volunteering makes you feel as if you have more time in the day. Giving your time to other people is the best way to increase your subjective feelings of “time affluence,” according to research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
- Volunteering can make you happier. People who volunteer report lower levels of depression and increased life satisfaction, according to a review of studies published in BMC Public Health.
- Volunteering can help you live longer. People who volunteered in order to help others had a lower risk of mortality after four years than people who didn’t volunteer. This research was published in Health Psychology in 2012.