An Interesting Link

I LOVE holidays. If you give me a reason, I will celebrate. For example: I love brownies, so know that I will be celebrating National Brownie Day on December 8th with some fresh out of the oven brownies – with or without frosting, nuts, chocolate chips…you get the idea.

In order to get more into the spirit of the month of April, I did some digging on its holidays. Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month? April is also Stress Awareness month. Now here comes the real kicker. These two things go hand in hand. Follow me on this.

According to the British nonprofit Art Fund, 63% of adults surveyed used a visit to a museum or gallery to de-stress. While Harvard Health Publishing, in an article entitled ‘Volunteering may be good for body and mind,’ states that, “A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.”

So here is what my mind is doing after reading these articles: If going to museums reduces stress and volunteering is good for your health, imagine what volunteering at a museum can do for you!

In January of 2016, I walked into the Coos History Museum and signed on to be a volunteer. I needed to do something besides wait around for my 3 children to get home from school. Every Friday I did 4 hours of volunteering at the front desk with a lady named Carol and a fellow named Bruce. At first it was awkward for me. I was much younger than they were and we didn’t seem to have much in common. But after a few weeks we really looked forward to seeing each other during our shift. I looked forward to my volunteer time, even though some days got crazy busy or were super slow. I found I wanted to be here. I wanted to help people who came in to the museum. I wanted to share my love for this place with others.

In April of 2017, I was hired on as the Visitor Services Assistant, which has since morphed into so much more, including Manager on Duty, Volunteer Coordinator and Problem-Solver. Okay, that last title isn’t official at all, but I have been known to fix the elevator or figure out why something isn’t working properly.

One of my titles, Volunteer Coordinator, has proved to be tricky during this last year. Working around Covid-19 guidelines hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. We were closed for much of last year and the beginning of this year. Some of my volunteers, whom I have grown to love and respect, cannot come back and that leaves some of the time spots that need coverage, empty.

I’m reaching out to find those who want to volunteer, especially at the front desk. It’s a 3 hour shift a week. We do have other volunteer opportunities that are available. Please know that we are following state guidelines for personal safety. Hand sanitizer is everywhere and masks are worn. We do our best to stay 6 feet away from each other.

If you are interested, please reach out by either dropping by the museum to ask questions (the volunteers are great at answering!), clicking on this link to get you to the online volunteer form, or email volunteer@cooshistory.org.

One last thought on volunteering that is brought to you by the Mayo Clinic Health System, from an article entitled “Helping people, changing lives: The 6 health benefits of volunteering

  1. Volunteering decreases the risk of depression.
  2. Volunteering gives a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills.
  3. Volunteering helps people stay physically and mentally active.
  4. Volunteering may reduce stress levels.
  5. Volunteering may help you live longer.
  6. Volunteering helps you meet others and develop new relationships.

Celebrate National Volunteer Month by finding out how you can volunteer today!

by Becca Hill

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