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The Surprising Benefits of Being a Volunteer

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Nonprofit organizations, like Winning Futures, depend on the giving nature of volunteers.

By donating your time, knowledge, and experiences you can help others feel empowered, facilitate change and help reduce costs. All this because of who you are and what you can offer.

Of course, at its core, volunteering is about helping others, but it is accepted that people volunteer for self-enhancing reasons too. Here are four benefits that volunteers from our Workforce Prep program gave us about their volunteer experiences.

Surprising Benefits

Personal Enrichment

Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment and as a volunteer, it can also reignite your career passion.

Angela Oleksiak is a current mentor at Harper Woods High School and a prior scholarship judge for our students.  Angela works in human services at Samaritas as a director of workforce integration and talent development.  Oftentimes her work experiences have paralleled the projects she does with us. “We develop  performance metrics and work on goal setting and the process is challenging at any age.”

Angela is inspired by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to their futures.

“It reminds me of all the good and hope in this world, and I bring that spark with me in my daily work.”

Angela also found that the classroom work and discussion groups had a surprising impact on her. In going through these exercises with our students, she engaged in her own self-reflection for the next phase of her life. “We may be at different stages, but the fundamentals still apply.”

Wherever you are at in your life story, volunteering can be an important technique to help give your life new meaning and direction!


Connection to a Community

Mark Strayhan, vice president of sales at Marsh, was newly relocated to Michigan when he began volunteering with us. He is a mentor at Harper Woods High School and enjoys time spent with his mentees. He takes great pride in helping the next generation.

“Volunteer programs can give you the opportunity to bring people into your social network you otherwise wouldn’t get to meet and learn from those who come from different walks of life.” Strayhan says. “Ironically, to learn we are not all that different, we have the same general concerns in life.”

In our Workforce Prep program, volunteers can watch the growth of students over time. Whether you are working with an incoming sophomore, a graduating senior, or a young adult just starting in college or the working world, experiencing their development and the impact you can make. “Just a few hours of helping can turn into a lifetime of opportunity that is life-changing and reinforces your own sense of worth,” Strayhan says.


Rewarding Relationships

Being part of a team with a common goal will help you feel connected. I can speak from personal experience, as I am currently a marketing volunteer with Winning Futures who writes web blogs and participates in their social events.

I retired 8 years ago to be home with our daughter after a 20 plus year career in marketing.  Our daughter is now a senior in high school and there is less demand for my time, so Winning Futures has been a welcomed opportunity for me to re-engage my interests in a productive and meaningful way.  My role here has allowed me to engage with a variety of students and professionals that I would never have otherwise met. Talking with them, learning from them, and expanding my worldview brings me joy.

Working with like-minded individuals that share common interests, values, and outlooks has made me feel like I am part of a community again and connected with people outside of my family and friends. When deciding what to do with my newly found free time these three questions helped me gain clarity on choosing Winning Futures.

  • Am I excited about the purpose of the organization?
  • Do I believe that I can add value to their mission using my skills?
  • Will I continue to grow as a person and be challenged by the opportunity?

Next Step on your Volunteering Journey

If you would like to get involved, complete a general interest form today!

We offer a variety of one-time, short-term, or long-term volunteer opportunities that include training, so your time is used efficiently and you are well-prepared.

Volunteering your time, skills, and resources is one of the most powerful ways to help others,

and as it turns out, your life will be made better by the experience too!