Healing with Purpose: An Interview with ProjectHelping.org

Project Helping logo

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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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Seth

    Seth

    April 22nd, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    What an awesome cause… glad to learn that there are actually people out there who want to do good in this world!

  • Justin

    Justin

    April 22nd, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Seth, thank you so much for the kind words! We really appreciate it!

  • Arnie

    Arnie

    April 22nd, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    I love how you finding something that you loved like volunteering made such a difference in your own life. I think that many times we become very consumed with helping others, and while that is a great thing, it is also important to know the meaningful ways that you can also improve your own life and outlook on life by giving of your time. Those who are receiving the help, of course they will appreciate it and be grateful, but you are also doing something good for yourself too. That is a very powerful thing.

  • Georgina

    Georgina

    April 23rd, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    Here’s to hoping that the organization continues to grow with good results!

  • Justin

    Justin

    April 23rd, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Thank you for all the wonderful comments. They are very much appreciated.

  • nan

    nan

    April 25th, 2015 at 5:38 AM

    At times when you are at the very lowest point in your life, it is often nice to reflect on what you can do to help others so that maybe they don’t feel the same depths of low that you are feeling.

    I know that that not everyone would have that clarity to even be able to see past their own feelings, but if you do, and I have experienced this, it can make you feel so good to know that you are giving back and helping others, and that this is also helping yourself at the same time.

    Wonderful concept.

  • Braxton

    Braxton

    April 28th, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    It’s so nice when you stumble onto opportunities such as this that will not enrich you but will also enrich and improve the lives of others as well.

  • Maranda

    Maranda

    April 29th, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    In the end we are all looking for some meaning in our lives and also for ways to share that meaning with other people. It can be different for all of us but I happen to think that for many giving back is akin to receiving. It makes you feel good, about yourself and about the world, when you find that you do have to ability to contribute to something in a very positive way.

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  • NS

    NS

    August 29th, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    I don’t normally comment but I gotta tell appreciate it for the post on this great one : D.

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