CLEVELAND — It is Random Acts of Kindness Week and what better way to show love than by helping others.
Northeast Ohio ranks 29th among 51 major metropolitan areas in the country, with about 30% of residents volunteering, according to Volunteering in America.
There are more than 2,000 nonprofits in our area; a reflection of the great need here at home.
Three reasons why experts say you should volunteer:
- Social capital—building a strong sense of community.
- Physical and mental well-being—from lowering blood pressure to decreasing depression volunteering can help with it all.
- Lifespan—studies show lower mortality among people who volunteer.
A lot of people feel like they don't have the time to volunteer, or don't know how to get started.
One place to start is the Greater Cleveland Volunteers.
"We have a wide range of volunteers from 18 to 102," said Joy Banish, executive director of Greater Cleveland Volunteers.
They match you with organizations that mesh with your passion and schedule.
"A lot of our volunteers tell us that they get more out of volunteering than they feel like they're giving," she said.
Banish says volunteers are critical to nonprofits and they're needed every day.
"Volunteers are needed in a wide variety of ways: Weekdays, weekends, evenings, short-term, long-term," she said. "Anything that works for the volunteer, there's a place where they can help out."
Right now, she says there's big need for mentoring to help kids who are homeless, who need tutoring or are preparing for college. It is a heavier commitment, but very rewarding, she says.
All this week, News 5 will visit different nonprofits to show you the range of opportunities, and meet the volunteers making our community a better land.