Thursday, August 28, 2008

Newly Retired or Looking to Volunteer

Volunteer for something (that's me as a cub scout leader on the left), it will add purpose and meaning to your life. Often when you retire after working for years, you feel let down after spending your entire adult life going to work. You miss your friends and the interaction at work, the feeling of accomplishment that sometimes defines us as a person.

I've always found at every job I worked, no matter how valued an employee I was or the contribution that I thought I made to the place-within a few years of leaving that job, I was forgotten. That's when I realized that the only job where your contribution continuing to matter is at home with your family. You can never be replaced there. But sometimes being at home 24/7 with a newly retired spouse can be challenging. There's such a thing as too much togetherness.

Try to volunteer for some outside organizations. There are many: hospitals always need help, homeless and women's shelters, food banks, schools love mentors to help individual students with literacy, libraries offer free ESL English as a second language programs, local historical organizations and museums always need docents, etc. There's probably not any church, scouting, club, group or place in your town/city that couldn't use your special contribution. Check out your local Sr. Citizen's center and newspaper for opportunities to make a difference.

Look at my best friend Gittan's son's blog, Hans lives in Sweden, is LDS and father of five, and doing volunteer work for a school in Kenya. You too can make a difference.

Question to comment on, tell us about some volunteer experience you've had:


  1. As you know, I directed the American Red Cross HIV/AIDS program in Northern Utah for several years. I can't tell you how difficult it was to get good, reliable volunteers to go into the communities and teach for me. But, those few that we had were a Godsend!!

    After I left full time employment with the Red Cross, my children and I all continued to volunteer for the organization in several capacities. It was one of the finest experiences of my life.

    I also volunteered for the Unwed Mother's program for the L.D.S. Church. Another truly remarkable experience.

    I currently help with "Wagon Train", an organization that assists with the care and placement of abandoned or sick animals in the area. And lastly, I
    hope to volunteer at our local hospital beginning next spring.

  2. Oh thanks alot for the trust and the linc to my page

    I have looked into Paypal and it might be possible to ad a "donate" button on my page.
    Feels so odd though, never thought of it that global way, but I guess its the best and only way really to get worldwide trustees.

    I have read your text of today, very balanced and human with a twist. Your purpose..... thank you for promoting volontary work. You did good today!

    Pappa Hans in Halmstad/Kristianstad Sweden

  3. I wanted to volunteer at the SPCA, but I have to guarantee that I could be there 2 days a week. I can't guarantee that I can walk well on any particular day, so I couldn't do it. I also had to resign from a town committee on disabilities because of my health in the last couple of year. I struggle with feeling useful..

  4. Thank you Lin. I was a volunteer advocate for children with special needs in helping them get services from the schools. I did that for over 10 years and as it got more difficult to get out, I did it via phone and internet. I just stopped a few years ago when I had a relapse as it was time and energy consuming and my doc wanted me to lower my stress levels. So I am being very selfish for right now doing things that I enjoy just for me...

    PS..would you tell Caryn that I added her great comment on fall to the blog post. She does have a way with words as do you..

  5. I signed up with RSVP [Retired and Senior Volunteers]. Most likely a natl. org.[It's like a center with info of 40 org. who need help.
    There are so-o many ways to volunteer and some are possible from home.[telephoning].
    At Meals on Wheels, I write the names and imp. info[db ls lf,etc] on the paper bags[250/day] that go out daily. That's something that could be done at home and at your own pace. Our RSVP has a minivan that will transport you to the volunteering site and return you home if transportation is an issue for you. I volunteer other places, too. I have rheumatoid arthritis and when I have a flare, I have to scale back. So I can relate to Michelle. That's why RSVP is a place to start- many different kinds of activities are possible.

  6. I admire what you do or have done Lin, Mare and Caryn...I knew you were good people...

  7. This is a wonderful post, Lin. Thanks for the ideas.

  8. After pouring my heart and soul into trying to teach at risk kids to read, I have taken several steps ack from any committment for now.
    I did miss the acknowledgement that came with working, and the social contact, but the lack of responsibility has been a blessing. I know where to go if I need to get back into the action on a volunteer basis.

  9. Thanks for another great post Lin, full of good tips and helpful information. I like the way you are always helping others.