Impact on Volunteers

A Home Creation is Equally as Healing and Life-Changing for Volunteers as it is for Beneficiaries.

Even Greater Happiness Is Achieved And Enhanced Through…

Graphic image of the words: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment

Dr. Martin Seligman is the leading researcher in the field of Positive Psychology and is renowned for Seligman’s Theory of Well-Being (2011). Well-being is predicted by five elements: (a) Positive Emotion, (b) Engagement, (c) Relationships, (d) Meaning, and (e) Accomplishment. These five elements are represented by the acronym PERMA. Each element contributes to well-being, can be pursued for its own sake, and is independently defined and measured. The combination of PERMA elements promotes flourishing, which is optimal functioning of individuals, groups, communities, nations, and society at large. Well-being may be increased by increasing PERMA elements:

  • Positive Emotion: what we feel (joy, pleasure, comfort, warmth, etc.)
  • Engagement: being fully absorbed in stimulating activities, being in “flow”
  • Relationships with others that are positive, nurturing, rewarding
  • Meaning: serving some purpose that is larger than oneself
  • Accomplishment: pursuit of achievement and mastery

The ASOH Home Creation advances all levels of PERMA.


is contagious

"The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to pay it forward. This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people."

(Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University for Scientific American, July 26, 2016)

is teachable

"It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help."

Dr. Ritchie Davidson, University of Wisconsin

releases a hormone

that improves health, optimism, and self-esteem “Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation."

Dr. Ritchie Davidson, University of Wisconsin

increases energy

"Participants feel stronger and more energetic after helping others and many report feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth."

Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center

increases happiness

"People who are altruistic and generous are happiest overall."

2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries

increases life expectancy

"People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more."

Christine Carter, Author, Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents

increases pleasure

"When you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the 'helper’s high.'"

According to research from Emory University

is teachable

"Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy."

Talya Steinberg, Psy.D for Psychology Today

decreases pain

"Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller."

Lizette Borreli, Medical Daily

decreases stress

"Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!"

Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 1998

decreases anxiety

A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.

University of British Columbia Study

decreases depression

Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and wellbeing and good fortune are increased.

Dr. Stephen Post, Ph.D. bioethics professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

decreases blood pressure

Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.

Dr. David R. Hamilton

People in the World

In her groundbreaking working on generosity and joy, social psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Dunn has proven that the greatest happiness a human can attain is from giving. In her April 2019 Ted Talk, Dr. Dunn explains that her research unearthed that the ‘how’ in giving matters, greatly. She describes the ideal experience of giving as volunteering in an intimate experience where one can witness a transformation.

The need for human connection is as essential to our emotional and physical well-being as food and safety.

Dr. Shira Gabriel and her team at SUNY, University at Buffalo — developed an instrument to measure how experiences of collective assembly improve wellbeing and build a sense of belonging and community. Dr. Shira Gabriel will be including ASOH in her upcoming study “Becoming “We” in a crowd: Collective Effervescence, Entitativity, Well-Being, and Prosocial Behavior”.

Dr. Shira Gabriel and her team have found that collective experiences (such as what is experienced at a Home Creation) contribute to a life filled with “a sense of meaning”, increased positive affects, an increased sense of social connection and a decreased sense of loneliness — all essential components of a healthy, happy life. Dr. Shira Gabriel stated, “We plan to collaborate with A Sense of Home on research examining the effects of the group experience on the well-being, sense of connection, optimism, and agency of all participants. My research on collective effervescence suggests that activities sponsored by A Sense of Home are likely to be associated with an increased sense of social connection”.

Get Involved

A Sense of Home strives to prevent homelessness by creating first-ever homes and a community for youth aging out of foster care.

Impact on Volunteers - A Sense of Home