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Stiemke: Helping others can do a volunteer’s heart good

This time of year, most of us think about how we want to look in our new year. We visualize activities that will offer some sort of success, contentment or in some way make us feel good.

A study by The Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteers have a greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease than those who don’t volunteer. Another study by United Healthcare Group and VolunteerMatch reported that volunteering made individuals feel healthier. Both studies are good reasons to include volunteerism in that 2013 photo of yourself.

Can you see yourself sharing coffee and stories with an elderly person; reading a book with a child who doesn’t have a lot of choices in life; talking on the phone with a person in the middle of a difficult situation; giving love to an animal that has been abandoned; helping an organization make a challenging decision; or planning a party? To inspire a few other possible 2013 images of yourself, visit www.volunteermchenrycounty.org.

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A two-day volunteer management training will be Jan. 17 and 18. Topics include delegating, evaluating and supervising volunteers; training and orientating volunteers; dealing with problem situations; and risk management. This training is ideal for seasoned volunteer managers and for individuals new to managing volunteers. Space is limited.

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Registration for the April 21 McHenry County Human Race is open. So far, 38 charities have registered. The Human Race is a 5K walk/run that allows participants to choose which organization will receive the proceeds from their race registration and any fundraising. This year, there is $2,400 in prize money. More than 1,000 people are expected on race day.

For information about volunteering, volunteer management training or the Human Race, visit www.volunteermchenrycounty.org or call 815-344-4483. Make volunteerism a way of life in McHenry County; get started today.

• Rebecca Stiemke is the director of United Way McHenry County Volunteer Center. She can be reached at 815-344-4483 or rstiemke@volunteermchenrycounty.org.

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