Fact: Volunteering is good for you!

By: Hannah Fried-Tanzer, Intern: Emerging Jewish Leaders Program

JBBBS volunteers tout the way mentoring-friendships make them feel good. But it’s more than a feeling. It turns out that eating your fruits and vegetables is not the only path to a healthier you. Volunteering is proven to improve physical and mental health and professional lives, too.

Physical Benefits:

Feeling physically healthier: 76% of American adult volunteers report that volunteering has made them feel physically healthier. And it’s more than a feeling.

Less Stress: 78% say that volunteering reduces their level of stress. And acts of “do-gooding” help reduce blood pressure.

Mental Benefits:

Happier lives: An Americans’ Changing Lives survey found that those who volunteer report higher levels of happiness, life-satisfaction and self-esteem.

 Professional Benefits:

27% more likely to be employed: In July 2013, the Corporation for National and Community Service conducted a study and found that volunteers are 27% more likely to find a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Volunteering keeps a job-seeker’s skills current while filling gaps in one’s résumé.

Do good by someone else. Do good by you. E-mail volunteers@jbbbs.org to learn more about how you can make a difference here.

Mythbusters: Top 10 JBBBS untruths debunked!

1)   It’s Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s not for me. I’m Christian [or Buddhist or Baha’i or Muslim or…].

Inclusion is a hallmark of progressive Jewish institutions. Sure, we have deep roots in the local Jewish community and strong, proud ties to it to the present day, but there is no requirement that one be Jewish to participate, as either a client or volunteer, in the life of the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters agency. We welcome participation from individuals and families of all religious backgrounds – including people with no religious affiliation.

2)  Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program of the Leventhal-Sidman JCC. 

It isn’t. JBBBS rents office space at the JCC. We like it here. We enjoy close working relationships with our colleagues at the J. That said, JBBBS is its very own entity.

3)  JBBBS exclusively serves individuals and families living in Newton.

False: We serve clients across some 90+ towns in Eastern Massachusetts. Our volunteers, too, come to us from all parts of Greater Boston, the North Shore, South Shore and beyond.

4)  JBBBS is a new entity.

No. JBBBS was one of the founding members of the Big Brothers Big Sisters movement in the United States. Our organization was founded in 1919 and has been in continual existence since.

5)  JBBBS serves children.

That’s only part of the story! We do serve children. (We serve children ages 6-18 who could both benefit from, and actually want, an adult mentor.) But we also serve adults with disabilities through a program called, “Friend 2 Friend.” Participants in F2F, all adults with disabilities who seek connection and socialization with other adults, are matched to community volunteers for just that purpose.

6)  There’s no “need” in the Jewish community.

Yes there is. We’re quite sure of it, because we’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. Some Jewish people are poor. Some Jewish people are sick. Some Jewish people are mentally ill. Some Jewish people have disabilities. Some Jewish people are socially-isolated. And some don’t talk about it. Frankly, we wish they would.

7)  I’m a young adult on a starting salary. I’d be happy to make a small gift to support the great work you do, but you couldn’t possibly benefit from this $20. 

Oh, yes we could. Those small gifts add up. Plus, we recognize that micro-philanthropy is one very important way young people cast their support behind those causes they care about the most! Show us the money.

8)  I’m somebody’s grandpa. I’m too old to be a Big Brother.

No you’re not! While JBBBS volunteers have to be at least 18 years of age and have completed secondary school, there’s no such thing as “too old” to volunteer.

9)  I don’t think I have the time to make a difference.

We’re pretty sure you do. Here’s why: While it’s the case that some of our programs stipulate that volunteers meet with their Little Brothers, Little Sisters or adult friends 2-3 times per month for a few hours each time, our Children’s School-Based Programs in Newton, Needham and Waltham and our Friend 2 Friend MAGIC program offer time-limited, predictable opportunities to forge mentoring-friendships. And even if now is the wrong time for you to volunteer in any ongoing capacity, it’s very possible we could use your support around some short-term initiative (i.e. planning or staffing an event).

10)  At JBBBS, it’s all about the match!

To be fair, it’s a lot about the match. We take great pride in bringing together Big and Little Brothers and Sisters and adult Friends who go on to have impactful, long-lasting relationships. But that’s not all: We also offer short-term counseling, camp and college scholarship aid and economic assistance to families experiencing financial hardship. We sponsor social events and operate a leadership program for young adults. The list goes on. JBBBS is a robust, happening agency!