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The Value of Volunteering: Three benefits of giving back

April 18, 2022 | Heather Fletcher

Smiling senior volunteer wearing a green shirt giving a double thumbs up

Leisure Learning at the University of West Florida provides stimulating programs for seasoned adults ages 55+ who are interested in joining a spirited community of intellectual contemporaries and lifelong learners.

This summer, consider donating time to a local cause or organization—you may benefit from it more than you think! Volunteering is a valuable investment to organizations and the populations they serve, but did you know it has also been found to have prominent physical and emotional benefits? Here are three ways that giving back supports lifelong learning.  

Build community and purpose 

Fellow volunteers are often passionate about the same causes—this bonding experience of working with others can lead to new relationships and even long-term friendships. Research has found that people who donate their time feel more confident, capable and useful which translates to a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment.  

Live a longer, healthier life

The National Institute on Aging reports that volunteering promotes brain activity and improves a person's cognitive and heart health. Additional research has also found that meaningful participation in volunteering can lower the risk of dementia and other health problems, as well as improve mental health, quality of life and overall life satisfaction. 

Continue learning and growing in new ways 

Since many volunteer opportunities involve exchanging information and skills, you can be sure there is always something new to glean from each experience. You not only learn new things and perspectives from your work, but also from the people you work alongside. It isn’t surprising that giving back can fuel inspiration, curiosity and creativity.    

Volunteer with Leisure Learning 

If you’d like to get involved with Leisure Learning, contact us at 850.473.7468 or email

Join the Curriculum committee 
The Curriculum Committee meets 3-4 times each semester to brainstorm class ideas, identify instructors and plan the next semester’s course schedule.

Become a Leisure Learning Liaison 
Get involved with the classes that you are already attending and get to know your fellow Leisure Learners better. Primary Liaison duties include: taking attendance, introducing speakers, delivering announcements and ensuring class ends on time.

Teach a Class 
Consider sharing your expertise, talent or hobby for a Leisure Learning course. No previous teaching experience is required—just a strong desire to share with your peers. 

Volunteer with Friends of Leisure Learning 

These organizations are involved with Leisure Learning and rely on volunteers for a variety of duties. If you’ve enjoyed a course before by any of these organizations, consider getting involved by reaching out and donating your time.

Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN)FPAN Museum and Lab Experience
Mari Thornton, 850-595-0050
207 E Main St, Pensacola, FL, 32502 

United Way of Escambia CountyRSVP: A Meaningful Volunteer Experience
Janet McCoy, 850-434-3157
1301 W Government St, Pensacola, FL 32502 

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge
Crystie Baker, 850-684-1485
3051 Cloptons Circle Navarre, FL 32566 

Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer Program 
Joan Irby, 850-565-0279
1800 St Mary Ave Suite 3, Pensacola, FL 32501 

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center 
8740 Gulf Blvd, Navarre FL 32566 

Roy Hyatt Environmental Center 
Molly O'Connor, 850-937-2117
1300 Tobias Rd, Cantonment, FL 32533 

The Gordon Community Art Center
Christine Kellogg, 850-857-8961
306 N De Villiers St, Pensacola, FL 32501

For more information on UWF Leisure Learning, to request a catalog or to register for class, visit us online.