What are other options besides work? Explore Volunteerism!
Find a volunteer gig – not something to fill time, but something that really fulfills you.
Volunteerism is an area that is wide open. Places where you can make a difference both for those you are helping and for helping yourself. Visit this link offered by the Corporation of National and Community Services. Whatever your passions are, whatever touches your heart, there are many places that welcome volunteers.
How can you help?
Think about our own life span so far and you will be able to picture the life spans of those who may need some type of help. For example:
- There are babies to be rocked, and toddlers to be watched.
- Children need tutoring and teens need mentoring.
- College kids need a surrogate ‘family-like’ place to regroup.
- Nurseries need helpers and senior centers need caregivers.
- Blood banks need donors
- Missions need teachers.
- Libraries need storytellers
- Hospitals need folks ready with a quick smile and a reassuring hand.
- Election headquarters need campaigners.
- School field trips need chaperones.
- Warm meals need delivered.
- Those disabled need transportation.
- Lonely folks need company.
The list, like the “beat of the Sixties” that we Boomers are so familiar with, just goes on.
Most of these volunteer opportunities don’t require special skills. They require the precious gift that you now have, time. Time is the same commodity that is in short supply when you’re working 40 hours a week.
Research shows there is as much benefit to you from volunteering as there is for those you are helping.
What are some of the benefits of volunteering?
The immediate benefit volunteers receive is the satisfaction of being of service to others. You will make a difference in their lives, your community and your country.
But you personally benefit as well. When you donate time to others you solve problems and improve lives. At the same time, you also benefit from pride and a sense of accomplishment. It’s a win/win situation.
You can find volunteer opportunities nationally as mentioned above and also locally. Just check your local listings.
The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is a national program created by Congress in 1971 to encourage individuals 55 years of age and older to put their skills and life experience to work for their communities through volunteerism. RSVP is one of the components of the National Senior Service Corps.
The National Service organization summary also pointed out that the greatest benefits are enjoyed by older volunteers. The physical and social interaction provides them with “purpose,” something retirees mention they miss greatly. Like I said; Win/Win.
Is Purpose a real concern for Retirees?
As mentioned before, Pam and I live in a 55+ Active Adult Retirement. Access to other retirees is easy for us…in fact, we are surrounded by communities with similar demographics. Welcome to Southern Florida.
Our research verifies “purpose” as a need for retirees. Not all, certainly, but many.
I was talking with a younger retiree the other day. Kathy retired just a year and a half ago. She and her husband are snowbirds from Canada. She retired from a thirty year upper level position with a large retail corporation. Her responsibilities included overseeing large sections of the company and large groups of employees. I asked her if she missed work and her response was tentatively “yes.”
Though we were sitting at the pool, surrounded by friends, under palm trees and blue cloudless skies which she thoroughly enjoyed, she said she missed a “purpose.”
The feeling of purpose that comes from being involved and staying active in the community can be found in volunteerism.
Brainstorm the first things that come to mind that spark your interest in the volunteer field: record them in your retirement journal and do a little research to see what works for you. If it works, you win and they win.
Thanks for stopping by and following us as we provide more tips for positive aging and happy retirement. Next stop: Retirement 5.