GoodTherapy.org’s GoodCause Nonprofit Directory features nonprofit organizations that are aligned with the GoodTherapy.org mission and vision and work toward improving mental health, supporting mental wellness, and fostering change in their communities. The GoodCause Directory aims to raise awareness and support for the important work these organizations do.
ProjectHelping.org is one such organization that was created by Justin Kruger to provide a platform for bringing people together and providing a sense of purpose and joy in their lives on a regular basis through the act of volunteering, an activity that gives back not only to their communities, but also to the volunteers providing the service.
Finding meaning is one of the most rewarding aspects of life and can often be attained through participation in a greater cause, whether that be through volunteering, adopting a pet from a shelter, parenting, helping a neighbor or friend in need, or by some other means. Creating or finding meaning in life can be a particularly important, albeit challenging, task for a person experiencing depression, who may feel not only that his or her life lacks meaning or purpose, but also that he or she is helpless to change that. Isolation is another common symptom of depression, and reaching out to others for support may feel like an impossible task. Project Helping aims to solve both these dilemmas by promoting purpose through volunteering and cultivating camaraderie among participants who have personal experiences with depression. Recently, GoodTherapy.org had the opportunity to chat with Justin about the history and goals of the organization.
What was your motivation for creating Project Helping?
I struggled with depression for the majority of my life. After trying a wide variety of treatments with little success, it seemed that it wouldn’t get much better. By chance, I was invited to volunteer to plant a garden for an underprivileged school in Denver. Having never volunteered, I was hesitant. Fortunately, I decided to do it because it turned out to be a major turning point in my battle with depression.
That day, I felt something that I all but forgot existed; I felt joy. I felt the joy that only a sense of purpose can bring. I was immediately hooked on helping others and began to volunteer more. The more time I gave to serving others, the more my mental wellness improved. From this experience, the concept for Project Helping was born.
What is the mission and vision behind Project Helping?
Project Helping’s mission is to use the joy of purpose created by volunteering to combat the symptoms of depression. By organizing and leading group volunteer events, others who are living with depression can leverage the amazing health benefits of serving others. At the same time, volunteering with a group of people who all empathize with depression breaks down stigma, empowering them to speak up and seek help.
What are the organization’s aspirations?
By the end of 2015, Project Helping’s goal is to be in 10 markets outside of Denver and continue to grow from there. We have a unique model in which we focus on the volunteer, not the volunteer act. Through this, we can help those living with depression while also serving any number of other needs by providing volunteer help. In 2015 alone, we hope to reach over 1000 volunteers and impact over 70,000 others with our volunteer efforts.
To learn more about how Project Helping has impacted the lives of participants, please visit their testimonials page or watch the short video below, outlining the experiences of one volunteer, and her story of living with depression. Look up volunteer opportunities in your area on Project Helping’s Get Involved page, or visit the enCourage page to post a message of hope for people experiencing depression.
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