I always knew that volunteering was beneficial, both for the volunteer and for the beneficiary group. That is why, from the outset of the Camp Aftermath vision, I volunteered to help Farid translate his vision into reality. But I didn’t know –or think- anything more about it until someone pointed out an article on the health benefits of volunteering. This article proved through scientific methodology that volunteering is “significantly predictive of better mental and physical health, life satisfaction, self-esteem, happiness, lower depressive symptoms, psychological distress, and mortality and functional inability.” Who would have thought!?
It was interesting to learn that there are two kinds of volunteering: “Other-oriented volunteering,” where the volunteer helps others in need, and “self-oriented volunteering” where the focus is on reciprocity and seeking benefit for oneself in return, either as an individual or as a member of a group. Examples of other-oriented volunteering are working to help the sick, the poor and the disadvantaged, while examples of self-oriented volunteering are working for an advocacy group, a political party, or volunteering for the acquisition of new skills, career development, etc. Of these two, it has been shown that other-oriented volunteering can more effectively help accrue genuine supportive relationships and social integration, self-worth, a sense of mattering, and life meaning and therefore better contribute to health benefits -all of which are the objectives of the Camp Aftermath programme. .
The above is to say that research has provided reasoned argument for what I myself in particular and we Aftermath Association members in general felt in our bones from the outset: By providing long-term management of PTSD through active philanthropy, we are improving our own mental and physical health, life satisfaction, self-esteem, happiness, and lowering any depressive symptoms or psychological distress we may have.
How you can help
There are currently many amazing programs that focus on helping veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD. If you believe in our cause, please help us make Roto 0, our first retreat, a success and consider donating to our campaign on Canada Helps.
We are a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency. For more information, please visit our status page on the Canada Revenue Agency website.