A report in 2018 from Kaiser Family Foundation found that 22 percent of Americans say they often or always feel lonely (that’s 55 million people and twice the number of Americans with diabetes!). Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, feels that number is underestimated due to the nature of evaluating a concept like this through a survey.
How do we combat this pervasive feeling, especially among young people reporting significantly higher levels of depression than previous generations during a pandemic requiring us to isolate? A powerful option is to engage in service because service shifts our attention from ourselves to other people.
What is powerful about organizations like Youthlinc is that what we do is rooted in service. Service shifts our attention from ourselves, where it increasingly is focused when we feel lonely, to other people and in the context of a positive interaction. Service reaffirms that we have value to add to the world. One of the consequences of long-term loneliness is that it can wear down our self-esteem and lead us to start believing that the reason we’re lonely is that we’re somehow not likable or deficient. Service combats that negative feedback loop.
Youthlinc builds a sense of community within our teams, within our local communities, and even as a global village. People who have been a part of an experience where they have a deep sense of mission and where they’ve sacrificed together for a cause can experience an unshakable bond and connection to others that is rarely experienced in life. People who have taken part in the Youthlinc Service Year can often find that bond, purpose, and connection. Youthlinc equals community.
Right now, people want to help but often don’t know where to go to actually do something meaningful. Youthlinc provides those opportunities that can be extraordinarily powerful.
During Covid many of us have learned that the absence of physical contact with other people has made it more clear how essential in-person interaction is and that there really isn’t a high-quality substitute for it. We can get close with things like Zoom or FaceTime, but it’s not the same.
It has also become more apparent that beyond our family and friends making a difference to how connected we feel, it’s the interactions that we have with neighbors and even strangers. There’s something powerful in receiving a smile from someone. Those moments have a significant effect on lifting our mood. Serving others connects us, builds our capacity to thrive emotionally, and uplifts others on their own journeys.
Youthlinc’s Service Year gives the opportunity to student humanitarians and adult humanitarians to connect in ways that improve the quality of life for the person serving, vulnerable populations, and the quality of our communities, locally, nationally, and internationally.
Register now for an experience that will change your life.