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Volunteering can be satisfying. In fact, the basic idea of volunteering is to do something not for gain, but because it is worth doing, making life better somehow. It could be helping people (or animals) directly, or it could be through an organization or even a company devoted to a cause you feel worthwhile. Helping others, just because it's the right thing to do, is endorsed by just about every moral system and religion. The Corporation for National and Community Service reported that about one in five Americans volunteered to help their communities in 2009, contributing more than 8 billion hours of service with an estimated dollar value of nearly $170 billion.

While giving away time and effort is clearly reward enough, there can also be side benefits for those in transition to employment and independent living. At the very least, you are likely to broaden your circle of acquaintances and make contacts for possible employment. You will probably have the chance to demonstrate punctuality, dependability, and responsibility, maybe even creativity and problem solving. Many people who have targeted their volunteer efforts gain skills and experience relevant to fields of work that interest them, and more than a few have found jobs. It is certainly reasonable to expect to gain helpful experience for your resume and associates who could serve as references when you apply for a job.

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