Written by: Cassandra Carter, FSU Intern
Whether you are required to volunteer or decide to do so on your own, volunteering will benefit both you and the community.
The results of a government study into the benefits of volunteering are eye-opening; there is a strong relationship between volunteering and health such as lower mortality rate, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life.
While the health benefits are a major plus, volunteering also allows you to network with people and could lead to a job or benefit your current occupation. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, approximately 21% of employers now give workers paid time off for volunteering. Sponsored volunteerism can help companies by boosting morale, building camaraderie, and adding to professional credentials.
If you work and need extra time to volunteer, ask your Human Resources department if your company has teamed up with any charities or community organizations in need of volunteers. If they have not, then ask if your employer will support your volunteering and inquire if paid-time off could be provided for volunteering. Be sure to communicate how many hours per month you plan on volunteering. Companies that give their employees an opportunity to volunteer have a lower-turnover rate and attract more potential employees; it is well-known fact that employees like working for companies they feel are socially responsible.
If you are student or job searching, volunteering could help you make a connection with a potential career and serve as a great reference. It also shows employers that you invest in your community which in turn makes you a good investment for an employer.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden welcomes you to experience the benefits of the volunteering! At the Garden, volunteers are provided training and are informed of their responsibilities before embarking on opportunities including:
- First Impressions/Visitor Services – be the welcoming face of the Garden by greeting and interacting with visitors. Also, lead tours through the historic Heritage Garden Complex buildings.
- Administration – assist with daily operations duties such as typing, filing, and processing paperwork in all departments including Horticulture, Education, Events, and Visitor Services.
- Horticulture – help keep the Garden looking beautiful in all seasons! You don’t have to be a Master Gardener to volunteer in horticulture – just enjoy working in the outdoors!
- Education – lead tours for children and adults while teaching about the Garden’s plant collections, wildlife, and history. Also assist with hands-on activities, crafts, and workshops, and share the joy of the nature with visitors!
- Events – facilitate activities at diverse public special events happening throughout the year. Current events include Halloween at the Boo-tanical Garden, Holiday Lights in the Garden, and Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks Exhibit.
Another benefit of volunteering is the possibility of you finding your passion in life! Being able to network and find a new passion? Sign me up!
Here are some personal statements from our volunteers on why they volunteer at the Garden:
“This is my family. We became family. We don’t have a boss. We all get along amazing well and all like each other. We get a chance to get dirty and we can give back. It gives us great pleasure to do that. We learn from each other a lot.” -Susie, 7 years volunteering
“The Master Gardener program brought me here. We have to get a certain number of hours each year. I love botanical gardens. One of my neighbors is a Master Gardener and told me I’d love it” -Wanda, 1-year volunteering
“If I do stuff in my garden at home only the joggers or a couple people see it, when I work here everyone sees it. These gardens are a gem in Fayetteville. It helps the community. I’m selfish and am doing this for my health, it is like therapy. My companions and I don’t think of age; we think what is important [for the community]”- Renate, 17 years
No matter the reasons, volunteering will open up new doors for you. Let the first door you open be at Cape Fear Botanical Garden.