People volunteer for many reasons. Some volunteer to gain employment skills, others do it to socialize and many volunteer simply to give back to the community. It does not matter why you choose to volunteer; volunteering is not a “one-size-fits-all” opportunity. Volunteering should be a partnership between the volunteer and the organization, and both should benefit from the experience.

There are many benefits to volunteering. According to a United Healthcare health and volunteering study, volunteering is good for your health. About a quarter of the people who volunteered in the past 12 months say that volunteering has helped them to manage a chronic illness. To read the full “Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study,” visit www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SR.

Volunteering can be a bridge-builder for employment. Research from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides evidence of a relationship between volunteering and finding employment. According to this report, volunteers have a 27 percent increased opportunity of finding employment than non-volunteers. It was even higher for those without a high school diploma at 51 percent and those that live in rural areas at 55 percent. To read the full report, visit www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/upload/employment_research_report.pdf

We can think of many reasons to volunteer. Helping others and strengthening your community are only two reasons of many. Once you’ve figured out why to volunteer, we can help you find a great opportunity. The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. In the 2013 tax year, 2,355 tax returns were prepared in Weber County with the help of 107 volunteers providing 2625.50 hours of service. No prior experience is required, we provide free IRS certification and non-tax preparation position training.

Make a difference in your community. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone!

Shannon Smith, Weber County Regional VITA Coordinator.

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