Seniors Making a Difference in Their Communities

 

volunteer

The Benefits of a Retired Life.

 

So you’re finally retired and you don’t have to set that alarm clock when you go to bed each night. That’s wonderful. But as you reflect on the career you enjoyed or the character traits developed over your years of service, you’ll discover you still want to be a productive part of your world. 

 

Retirement is a great time to travel, play and enjoy life. But studies show the happiest and most fulfilled senior citizens find a way to give of their knowledge and skills to the community they call home. They don’t give out of a sense of duty or because they’re earning their pensions, they give because it provides them a healthy sense of pride and enjoyment.

 

Where to Begin

There are hundreds of ways to be active in your community. As a retiree you have more leisure hours to spend. Think about the things you know, the things you love, and the needs of your particular community. Do your schools need help? Does the local hospital or nursing home have a need for volunteers? Do you have a skill you can share with others to benefit them? Here are three ways to search out the perfect place for you to volunteer hours on a regular basis.

 

Social Outreach Programs

Every community has governmental and private social outreach programs of all kinds. There are feeding programs, drug and addiction programs, justice system related programs and on and on. What skills or gifts do you possess that you can offer to one of these programs? Can you help raise funds for food and clothing for the poor? Can you volunteer at the local hospital or animal shelter? Could you teach a course on job hunting or small business skills? Can you teach a group of women to sew or cook? The possibilities are endless. Find something you can do and then match it to a place that needs you.

 

Mentoring Programs

Whether you mentor through a planned and organized program or just volunteer to help one person in your local school, mentoring is a great thing to do. It keeps  you up to date in your field of expertise and it offers your knowledge and  understanding to another person who needs it. You can mentor young children in after school programs or in the classroom, you can mentor teens through middle and high school classes or specialty classes such as music, dance or sports. You can work with young adults just out of school who are new at their jobs. You can take someone under your wing and make sure they are successful at something.

Giving your time and your skill to another is a great gift and it only costs your  time.

 

Non-profits

More and more we’re seeing the world globally. We love our local communities, but in our digital age, we also are aware of needs and opportunities around the world. What grabs your heart? When there are natural disasters such as the earth- quake in Haiti you may want to give funds to help support a school or provide  clean drinking water. Or you may even want to travel to the site of a disaster to help clean, build and restore. You may enjoy giving small loans to those in need or you may want to volunteer your time to do office work at the local headquarters for a non-profit of some kind. Let your heart lead you to the proper place of service for you.

 

Why?

Many of us have been taught by parents or grandparents that we should leave the world in a better way than we found it. That’s good advice. There are many benefits to giving of our skills and abilities in our latter years. We’ll maintain better physical and emotional health when we see beyond our own four walls and do for others. We’ll also feel vitally part of something bigger than ourselves. We’ll feel a sense of purpose as we work and interact with others. We’ll find a group of new friends with common values and experience a sense of community with them.

 

Take a look at your weekly schedule and see where there are some free hours. Then take a look at your community resources and find a place you can plug in. If you’re computer savvy, you can also find many opportunities to become involved in giving through online programs of all kinds. It all begins with the things you love. Make a list and do a little research and before you know it, you’ll be happily engaged in an activity that will enrich your community and put a smile on your face at the same time.

 

Two organizations that support seniors in volunteering in their communities:

Senior Corps  (USA)

WRVS  (UK)