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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., (June 7, 2018)

By: Samantha Teague

Have you been thinking about donating to a non-profit, or looking for a new way to give back to your community? If you’re like other millennials, you may have a tight budget and feel like it’s difficult to come up with the extra money to give.
 
While giving money to charities helps immensely as they rely on contributions, it can be even more beneficial to donate your time instead through volunteering.

Here are three benefits to volunteering your time in Eastern Michigan:

 

1. You assist those that are less fortunate

Not everyone is born into a life of opportunity and sometimes just the area you grow up in will dictate a life of hardship and poverty. Take a look at Eastern Michigan for example. Metro Detroit’s population has the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the top 25 metro areas in the United States. At least 40% of the population is below the federal poverty line. The number of extremely poor neighborhood in Metro Detroit rose from 126 in 2010 to 186 in 2016. Over the same period, Detroit residents living in poverty climbed from 14.4% to 16.2%. Those of us that do live in areas where housing, education, and safety are basic and upheld rights, have a responsibility to assist those that struggle for these necessities on a daily basis.
 

2. You gain new experiences and insight

Volunteering allows you to gain a range of soft skills which will ultimately help you in many ways. This adds up and helps to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills. When volunteering in Eastern Michigan, you are faced with a diverse population that has walked through life differently. You may meet a former doctor that now makes money by drawing caricatures or someone that has lived in an abandoned hotel for his/her whole life and has never been given the opportunity to learn basic skills to get a job. Each individual you come in contact with has a different personality, background, and life experience. Interacting with this mix all while adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone will help you grow as an individual.
 

3. You create connections

One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills. Nothing brings people together better than working toward a good cause.
 

So how can you help those in need? Start by visiting The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division’s website. While the city of Detroit is revitalizing itself, it is the people in the neighborhoods and even in your own back yard that may need the most help. Visit salmich.org/emi/volunteer for more information on how to volunteer in your community.