May 16

Five Reasons to Volunteer this Mental Health Awareness Month

One of our favorite volunteer tutors was recently interviewed in the LA Times for an article about how to make friends in LA.

How to make real L.A. friends, according to Angelenos who swear it’s possible

“The time I spend with [my School on Wheels student] Diego (12) every week is one of those things in life that has given me a profound sense of meaning and fulfillment.”

Chris Webster, LA Times

There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer. And sometimes, when you are feeling low or circumstances are beyond your control, instead of looking inward we look around us and find something or someone to help instead.

That’s what Chris Webster did when he found School on Wheels online and made that first step. Chris was matched with student Diego (then 7) and “He immediately connected with me because of my British accent. And from the moment I met Diego, I knew we were going to be firm friends.”

Here are five reasons why you should volunteer and how your time can benefit others in your community.

  1. You’ll make friends

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.

  1. You’ll feel better

Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health. Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection with another person.

  1. You will make a difference in your community

You can transform lives and communities by volunteering. As a School on Wheels volunteer you will be matched with a student like Diego who needs extra time and attention to catch up and keep up in school. Helping one student has ripple effects: it can help that family and your student’s school community. It also helps address homelessness, an important issue in all of our communities.

  1. You can further your career

Even if your volunteer work is unrelated to your desired job, hiring managers take notice. A LinkedIn survey found 41% of hiring managers view volunteer work as equal to a paid job. This is especially beneficial to anyone who has been unemployed but volunteered while searching for a job.

More importantly, potential employees who volunteer have a 27% better chance of being hired than people who don’t volunteer, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

  1. You can volunteer from anywhere

There are many ways to volunteer from the comfort of your home. Online tutoring is a great way to provide support for a student without having to make a commute. School on Wheels offers in-person and online tutoring so that helping a student experiencing homelessness succeed in school is accessible to all.

Join Chris and the thousands of others who selflessly donate a few hours of their time each week to make a difference. Click here to apply to be a volunteer tutor today or visit to find out more about other volunteer opportunities in your community.