Daniel Aldrich, professor and director of the Security and Resilience Studies Program at Northeastern University, began studying resilience in disasters after his home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since then, he’s conducted a lot of research on how communities bounce back from a crisis—like the Great East Japan Earthquake.

“There was a certain burden, psychologically, that we encountered,” while interviewing survivors, Aldrich explained. “People began to feel that they weren’t doing enough, they were feeling grateful but had no activities for it.”

Volunteering, Aldrich said, was an effective way to combat that sense of helplessness.  Considering how socially isolating the coronavirus pandemic has been, Aldrich said volunteering at vaccination clinics could both be psychologically beneficial for volunteers while simultaneously being helpful to the community at large.


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