Make a Difference During Your Retirement
While you were climbing the corporate ladder or working to feed and raise your family, you may have wished for the time and energy to devote to a special cause, but simply couldn’t fit it into your life. Now, when you don’t have that 9-to-5 anymore, you can finally volunteer your time and efforts to causes dear to your heart.
Charitable organizations, churches, and political action groups – among others – love senior volunteers, who bring passion, life experience, and a wide range of professional and personal knowledge to the table. In light of this, many organizations work hard to accommodate and reach out to retirees. Here is a short list of volunteer opportunities especially suited to seniors:
- Habitat for Humanity – Volunteers for HfH help to get low-income families into quality homes of their own in safe neighborhoods in the U.S. and many places worldwide. Retired contractors, laborers, builders, plumbers, landscapers, and others in the construction industry may provide their construction or home repair services directly on building sites – but you can help HfH in office or telecommuting positions as well. The U.S. Habitat for Humanity even has a volunteer segment called the “RV Care-A-Vanners,” who travel in their own vehicles across the country to participate in HfH projects.
- Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Program – Volunteers 55 years and better are invited into Head Start and public school programs nationwide to interact with groups of preschool- and school-age children. Many children’s hospitals also need “guest grandparents” to read to, tutor, and/or play with young long-term patients, monitor playrooms, and provide emotional support for families. Of course, volunteering with children will require background checks.
- Global Volunteers – This “voluntourism” organization offers volunteers of all ages opportunities for “Adventures in Service” in many places around the globe. Retirees may be able to help with endangered animals, help repair homes, work with at-risk kids, or even teach English in foreign countries.
If you are considering volunteering abroad during your retirement, keep in mind that health care and transportation may be less modern or less available in some areas. Most voluntourism organizations can provide detailed information regarding services, and can suggest the best fit for senior participants.