Some of the greatest minds to have lived have understood the value and benefits of serving others:

  • “What is the essence of life?  To serve others…” – Aristotle
  • “I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” – Thomas Jefferson
  • “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” – Helen Keller
  • “Only a life lived for others is worth living.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Chances are high that you already volunteer your time to one or more causes.  After all, data compiled in a 2016 Huffington Post article found that 62.8 million Americans volunteered an average of 32.1 hours each in the previous year, for a collective total of almost 2 billion hours of service.  Meanwhile, Forbes found that financial contributions to charities and philanthropic causes exceed $143 billion dollars annually.

The impact of this giving of time and dollars cannot be understated.  Volunteer efforts build and rebuild communities, provide for those in need, and showcase the triumph of human love.  In addition to helping those in need, science has found that giving also has a profound positive physical and psychological impact on those who are giving.  Studies have found that volunteering can lead to lower blood pressure and longer lifespans, while it also fights off conditions such as loneliness and depression.  MRI technology has also found that the act of giving stimulates pleasure sensors within our brain.  The giving of ourselves to others literally improves our own wellbeing and happiness.

But it honestly doesn’t take science to tell us these facts.  When you give, you innately feel its impact within yourself.  A commissioned study by UnitedHealth Group of 3,300 adults found that from the act of volunteering,

  • 76% felt healthier,
  • 94% experienced improved moods,
  • 78% felt less stress,
  • 96% felt that their sense of purpose had been enriched.

And perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of volunteering is that no act of service is ever “too small.”  Indeed, sometimes the smallest gestures can have the greatest impact.

In the spirit of volunteerism, I would like to direct your attention to two ways in which you can serve the Kingsport region.

First, PEAK and the Kingsport Kiwanis Club are co-hosting a Day of Service at the Darrell’s Dream Boundless Playground at Warrior’s Path State Park on Veteran’s Day, Saturday November 11th, 2017.  We will be doing cleanup, performing maintenance, and taking care of other necessary tasks in order to keep the playground functioning in top condition.  All are welcome to attend and participate; please register ahead of time via Eventbrite on the Facebook Event Page so that PEAK will have an estimate of how many volunteers to expect.

Second, the United Way of Greater Kingsport recently unveiled their new volunteer service portal, Volunteer Kingsport.  It only takes a minute to create a profile on this website (either via email or by linking your Facebook profile), after which you can begin browsing available volunteer opportunities in our region.  You can also “fan” organizations which you are interested in and notate what types of activities you would like to assist with, after which you will begin receiving notification of new opportunities that fit your preferences.   Create your account today, and then tell others about Volunteer Kingsport as well.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”  So go forth and build a wonderful life, the impact of which will be felt far beyond yourself.


Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications.
He is also the co-owner of Appalachian Digital, a website development agency.
You can contact Jeremiah at
or connect with him on LinkedIn at Jeremiah Clark.