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Studies Show Volunteering Helps Overall Health
04/23/2009

CLEBURNE, Texas — For Diane Applegate, volunteering at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne isn’t something to just fill her time, it’s an opportunity to spread love to others.

“The Lord has blessed me in all kinds of ways,” said Applegate. “This is one way I feel I can thank him and pass those blessings onto others.” According to a 2007 report, published by the Corporation for National & Community Service, volunteering can boost mental health and the social connections help buffer stress. Also, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and vitality, key elements in helping treat depression.

Applegate once donated magazines to the hospital and was asked to volunteer. She's been volunteering at Texas Health Cleburne for more than five years. She serves as the 2nd Vice President and Membership Chairman of the Auxiliary. She also sits on the Board of Directors.

“Our world has lost its personal touch,” said Applegate. “I hope my being here can help regain that for just one person each day.”

Applegate added that volunteering has kept her healthier. She gets a lot of exercise by just walking the halls. She shares laughs with other volunteers and visitors which contributes to her cheerful attitude.

“We are blessed by our volunteers in many ways,” said Pat Stiver, administrative director at Texas Health Cleburne. “The smiles they have on their faces and their servant attitude makes this place light up.”

In its January issue, Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource says those wanting to volunteer should:

  • Get involved in what makes you happy or focus on an issue that you care deeply about.
  • Consider skills you've developed over the years and can share, or skills you'd like to learn.
  • Find organizations and opportunities. Places that often need help include hospitals, schools, libraries, food banks, religious organizations, parks, environmental programs, youth groups, humane societies, historic sites and arts organizations.
  • Decide on how much time you can offer. Opportunities can range from getting involved in short-term events such as fundraising walks or bicycle rides to long-term, ongoing activities such as tutoring.
  • Phone or visit the organization you're interested in to determine if it would be a good fit. If it's not, keep looking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, to realize the health benefits of volunteering, a commitment of 40 to 100 hours a year is needed. That equates to a couple of hours a week.

National Volunteer Week is usually the third week in April, and this year volunteers were celebrated April 19-25.

For information about volunteering at Texas Health Cleburne, visit TexasHealth.org/Volunteer.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Cleburne
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne is a 137-bed acute-care, full-service hospital that has served Cleburne and the Johnson County area since 1986. The hospital’s services include surgery, women’s services, urology, orthopedics and ear, nose and throat care. Texas Health Cleburne, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized with the 2007 Premier/Carescience Select Practice National Quality Award. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Cleburne.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 14 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, and Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health Organization for Physicians and Texas Health Physicians Group provide a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

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