Why Volunteer?

Aladdin Roque-Dangaran

This semester at the University of Hawaii at Manoa I decided to take a course in Developmental Psychology. In this class we have learned not only the different theories of how our minds develop from an infant to an adult but also how we learn (and how we best learn) during each stage of our lives. One of the readings that I read talked about how our social and emotional mindsets change as we get older[1]. And in this article, one of the interesting findings was that “older people who engage in volunteer activities that are either socially or mentally demanding also perform better on cognitive tasks than do older adults engaged in solitary activities with low cognitive demands”[1]. And I don’t have to tell you that the members of Kiwanis are some of the most active people you will ever meet. During my time in Circle K International at Washington State University I was invited to go to the Kiwanis Club of Pullman’s weekly meetings. And I believe that, at that time, their oldest member was about 95 years old! And when she spoke and you talked with her, she was still pretty sharp! Every member of Kiwanis is goal driven towards the well-being of others. And this type of mindset, combined with being active in the community and a leader to our Student Leadership Programs, can help to keep our mind ‘all there’ as we begin to age.

[1] Charles, S. T. and Carstensen, L. L. Social and Emotional Aging. The Annual Review of Psychology. 2009. 61, 383-409.

 

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