In our fast-paced, busy lives, we are fortunate to have generous community members who prioritize service to others. As April is National Volunteer Month, we wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of volunteerism and ask some of our St. Mark Center supporters why they serve.

“The students at St. Mark Center have had far greater impact on me, than I’ve had on them,” said Justin Smith, St. Mark Center volunteer from PNC Bank (pictured above). “Each time that I’m at the school, they bring me so much joy and laughter,” Smith said.

Smith’s experience of receiving benefits from volunteering is similar to many other service philanthropists. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between volunteering and happiness. A study at the London School of Economics found that the more a person volunteered, the happier they were.

In addition to improving mental well-being, volunteering can also promote physical well-being. People who volunteer are less likely to suffer from heart disease and are at lower risk for memory loss. A report from the Corporation for National & Community Service notes that people who volunteer more than 100 hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the United States.

Aside from the health benefits, volunteering can help create informed community members and civic leaders. St. Mark Center hosted 10 students from St. Teresa’s Academy during the spring semester. They volunteered in the classrooms working with students and in the kitchen assisting our chef.

Director of Ministry and Service at St. Teresa’s Academy, Andrea Arredondo, said the high school requires students to complete volunteer hours so they have an authentic opportunity to engage in the community.

“Volunteer service gives students the real-world experience of positively impacting others and helps create a life-long love of giving back,” Arredondo said.