B’More Healthy: The Value of Giving

112213_gg-healthWe know volunteering is a mitzvah, but what some people don’t know is that it’s also good for your health. According to CarePages.com, volunteering increases one’s sense of well-being and productivity and also positively impacts cardiovascular health, immune system and cognitive functioning, and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Ilene Cohen, a former travel agent, is the volunteer volunteer coordinator at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. With 10 years of experience, she coordinates recruitment, scheduling and retention. The museum relies heavily on volunteers who are mostly retired, but they welcome others as well.

“The volunteers are actually the face of the museum. … They are our ambassadors,” says Cohen, who explains that volunteers enjoy contributing toward a good cause and also appreciate the camaraderie the job offers. “For me, time is more valuable than money.”

In addition to two afternoons a week at the JMM, she also volunteers through The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, serves as a docent at the Walters Art Museum and is a greeter for Shalom Baltimore. Cohen is also in the process of forming a Hadassah group in downtown Baltimore.

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