Volunteerism is like a key – unlocking opportunities for those who give their time and those who receive. The action of volunteering is a powerful force that brings people from all walks of life together with a common altruistic goal. Volunteerism is more than just giving time to check off boxes. It is about making a lasting difference, building connections, and fostering a collaborative culture. The impact resonates far beyond individual efforts, as volunteerism can transform lives, uplift communities, and inspire a ripple effect of goodwill across society.

As we explore the benefits of volunteerism, two advocates for paying it forward share their experiences and how it has positively impacted their lives. 

Clint Casteel, the Lead Business Analyst at TOCA Football, is also a Volunteer Director with Atlanta Technology Professionals. Larisa Joiner, CIO at EnPro Industries Inc., is a volunteer board member at Inspiredu. Inspiredu’s mission is to help underserved youth develop the skills needed for education and career success through technology-based learning tools and engagement with their families, communities, and schools.


The Power of Volunteerism

“Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” – John F. Kennedy

The power of giving back is transformative, and if done effectively and with intent, it can help transform the workplace. 

While data isn’t needed to prove to someone how and why volunteerism is a positive and powerful thing, an article from Forbes does a great job of summing up how it can create a better working world. 

The author cites an interesting study on talent retention and found that “companies see 52% lower turnover among never employees when they participate in purpose programs.” 

Furthermore, volunteering can help employees refresh their “soft skills, such as active listening and compassion.” This can help facilitate “more innovative teams that challenge us to think differently.” 

When individuals give back, they invest in a stronger, more connected society—where neighbors help each other, businesses support their local communities, and every individual feels valued and respected. This collective spirit of giving fosters resilience, ignites hope, and ultimately shapes a better future. 

When asked what volunteerism means to Larisa Joiner, she replied:

For me personally, volunteerism means donating my time and energy towards a greater cause within the community, being connected to a problem. Part of the solution and a part of a change for the betterment of individual lives who are a part of our community.”

Clint Casteel shared what the power of giving back means to him as well: 

“Volunteerism is a way to contribute and to give back. It allows me the opportunity to be a part of a great community and provide deeper value to that community.”

By working together and sharing our resources, time, and talents, groups can achieve remarkable things and make a lasting difference in the workplace and beyond. 


Benefits of Volunteerism for the Volunteer

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” – Herman Melville

Volunteerism has a profound impact on our physical and psychological well-being, serving as a catalyst for a healthier, more fulfilling life. Of course, volunteerism has obvious benefits; however, volunteers reap various perks from their selfless acts. 

Casteel shares how giving back as a volunteer has positively impacted his life:

“Since I started volunteering with ATP in 2017, this organization has been a big part of my life. Giving back as a volunteer has given me so much: friends, business relationships, knowledge, and a sense of community with great people.”

Joiner has also had meaningful outcomes related to volunteerism: 

“Giving back as a volunteer with Inspiredu has helped me discover what I am passionate about and has motivated me to help make a greater difference in bridging the digital divide. With a career in technology, it is hard to comprehend how we have such a significant gap in having equal opportunities for our children and families in today’s world that requires technology in everything you do. This is a problem that must be solved.”

It is obvious that both experienced volunteers have a passion for helping others, which positively influences their lives.  

Research shows that volunteering has numerous physical and mental health benefits. Engaging in volunteerism helps with personal growth, advances social connections, encourages networking, and improves overall well-being. 

In an article about volunteering being good for the mind and body from Harvard Health Publishing, the author shows how volunteering over time can reduce blood pressure. They also cite a 2012 study from the journal Health Psychology. Researchers found that “participants who volunteered with some regularity lived longer, but only if their intentions were truly altruistic.” This quote means those who truly give back to others with good intentions gain more benefits than those who volunteer for selfish reasons. 

Furthermore, in a piece by the Mayo Clinic, the author discusses the mental health benefits of volunteerism. Think about what eating your favorite dessert or engaging in exercise does to your brain. Volunteering also gives people that same dopamine rush, reducing stress and increasing a positive, relaxed feeling. They point out that, in turn, “Reduced stress further decreases the risk of some physical and mental health problems, including heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and general illness.”

Volunteers are positively impacted from physical and social to emotional well-being – so there really isn’t a reason not to volunteer. It is a simple way to reap your own benefits of giving back while knowing you are helping others. 


Volunteerism in the Non-Profit Tech Sector 

Both Larisa Joiner and Clint Casteel know a thing or two about working in the world of technology and helping others become successful in the same field. Volunteering in an area where you are an expert is an effective way to give back. 

They were asked what advice they would give to someone looking to volunteer.

Joiner advises people to “Find an organization with a mission that inspires you personally to give your time and resources. Even helping out in the smallest ways can make a real difference in people’s lives and organizations supporting greater change within our community.”

Casteel is willing to help those interested in volunteering where he does. He says, “If you are looking to volunteer at ATP, just reach out to me, and I will get you started! Volunteering is a fantastic way to get plugged in with the community quickly.”

Advice from experienced volunteers is a goldmine. They’ve navigated the ups and downs, learned from challenges, and uncovered the rewarding moments. If you know someone who regularly volunteers, it’s worth asking them about their experience and seeing how you can join in and reap the benefits. 

Volunteerism creates a ripple effect that transforms individuals and communities alike. As we’ve seen through the experiences of Clint Casteel and Larisa Joiner, giving back fosters personal growth, deep connections, and a sense of purpose. Volunteering is a win-win, offering personal benefits and a pathway to a better society. To get started, find a cause that resonates with you and seek advice from experienced volunteers. By joining this movement, you’ll be part of something greater, making a real difference.

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