The Centra Homes Blog

Volunteering: You Get More Than You Give

June 6th, 2023

By Dale Wills, Founder of Centra Companies

Throughout my life, there have been many ups and downs. My family and I are very fortunate right now. We live in a fantastic community with great neighbors and are thankful that Centra Companies continues to grow. However, it hasn’t always been like this. Like so many others, we’ve experienced tests and trials. But during those tough times, we had an amazing support system and we’re so grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people. The help we received now inspires me to give back in my personal life, as well as encourage my staff at Centra Companies to find ways to give back in their own lives. What I’ve learned, through good times and bad, is that volunteering where we live and work builds strong communities. In 2021 alone, more than 60.7 million Americans volunteered, contributing $122.9 billion to the economy. Even a small act of giving can go a long way, and there are many ways you can help those around you that will impact their lives and your life.

The Lesson of Giving

It’s estimated the average volunteer donates around 50 hours of their time each year. But you don’t have to invest hours upon hours or thousands of dollars to make a difference. Start with where you’re at. You can give just a few minutes, your support, or merely your willingness to help.

When I was younger, my parents taught me a valuable lesson I didn’t realize I was learning at the time. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but my parents were always giving to our community, friends and others who didn’t have the means. I did yard work for my older neighbors, and my dad helped fix people’s cars who didn’t have a lot of money. I remember thinking, “Why are we doing this?” We could barely get by ourselves, and as a kid, I didn’t understand why we were always helping for free. But as I grew older, I saw the value in it. Even a small act of kindness can greatly impact someone’s life, as well as the community. And you can still give even though you don’t have an excess of money.

At Centra Companies, we encourage this type of mindset. Whether it’s lifting up a neighbor, donating their skills and talents to an organization or simply being there for a coworker, we want our employees to give back to the community where and when they can.

Improving Your Quality of Life

While giving back can definitely help others, it’s also been shown to reduce stress and increase happiness and gratitude in people who volunteer! It gives you a new perspective and reminds you that you can be part of something bigger than yourself.

I’ve volunteered through several organizations over the years, giving my time to my church, as well as local rotary clubs and Boy Scouts of America. I’ve learned through my volunteer work that we’re all in different stages of life, and you never know what someone is going through. By being grateful for what you have and by helping those around you, good things will come back to you, including a sense of purpose and meaning.

For example, Centra Companies has proudly partnered with Leader in Me, a three-year program that builds leadership and life skills for students in the local area. The Leader in Me program we worked with was for Blaine’s University Avenue Elementary, whose student body consisted of families who spoke 30 different languages! We chose to donate to this program because we wanted to give back to our communities by investing in the futures of these diverse young people and their families.

As a company, it was amazing to see the impact we had on these kids as their test scores improved and they built stronger relationships with their educators. It reminded us that even when you feel like you’ve played just a small role in supporting someone’s future or bettering a community, you’re still making a difference.

Making An Impact

Joining a cause that you care about gives a sense of purpose and is a great way to meet people who share your values. In fact, nearly a third of people who volunteer do so to socialize with people in their community. Volunteering has allowed me to meet my neighbors, hear their stories and make an impact.

Sometimes when you know someone is going through something tough, it’s amazing to watch them overcome the challenges. And it’s even more amazing if you’ve had some part to play in their success. It can be inspirational to help others and then later see them thrive.

Giving back not only strengthens our communities and each other, but it’s valuable to us too. We all have something to give – from our talents to our resources. Find a cause you’re passionate about that offers you the greatest opportunity for doing something that matters to you and your community.

If you’d like to volunteer or are looking for ideas, check out this website to get started.

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