Contributing to peers, neighbors and the community by volunteering is important at every age. We’re addressing some common volunteerism misconceptions so you don’t miss out on opportunities to get involved, make a difference and experience the rewards of giving back.

 

Here are seven myths about volunteering:

 

It is tough to find time to volunteer.

 

Spend your lunch hour at a nearby school reading with children or tutoring a struggling math student. If that doesn’t fit with your schedule, United Way can help workplaces organize on-site group volunteer projects – such as packing literacy kits, assembling snack packs or making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to distribute to local schools, shelters and families.

 

Volunteering will add stress to my life.

 

A growing body of research shows a significant relationship between volunteering and good health, in addition to the social benefits brought about by volunteering. When people volunteer they not only help their community, but also experience better health in later years – whether in terms of greater longevity, fewer physical limitations or lower rates of depression.

 

Volunteering is dirty work that no one else will do.

 

Not all volunteering involves hands-on work like painting walls, building benches and mulching gardens. Corporate professionals and community members alike can also serve as United Way board members, grant reviewers and community impact volunteers.

 

You have to be present to make a difference.

 

Virtual volunteering connects people to organizations and their beneficiaries. United Way Worldwide’s online platform helps companies give their employees the ability to engage in volunteerism, like writing notes of encouragement to students, veterans or other groups who need support.

 

Volunteering takes time away from family.

 

Out of the many ways to increase family time, few are as rewarding as volunteering together. When you volunteer with kids, you strengthen family bonds, instill important life skills and create happy memories. In January, the annual United Way MLK Call to Service saw more than 1,200 volunteers come together for family friendly projects benefiting the greater Charlotte community.

 

Problems are so big; I can’t make much of a difference.

 

There is no better way to create change than to volunteer right where needs are being served daily. United Way brings people together to build a stronger community through a range of activities and meaningful service events. In April, United Way’s annual Hands On Charlotte Day included hands-on volunteer projects benefiting local nonprofits, schools and neighborhoods.

 

Volunteering is thankless work.

 

Volunteers play a significant role in United Way’s work and their time and talents don’t go unrecognized. Every year, the good work of local volunteers who make a difference through United Way’s programming is celebrated during the United Way Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

 

To every volunteer helping us make the community a better place for everyone, thank you for showing what it means to Live United!