Ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community
Volunteering is rewarding. It makes you feel like you are giving back and helping people. It also helps change the perception people have about older adults. By using your talents and skills — and time —in a variety of ways, seniors demonstrate that they are active, involved and crucial to a healthy community.
Your first stop in finding a good fit, is the website of the AARP Foundation (http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/get-involved/). The AARP Foundation can connect you to many organizations that need volunteers.
• RSVP, a program of Senior Corps, is one of the largest senior volunteer groups in the country, with close to 300,000 volunteers in a wide range of areas. “RSVP volunteers recruit and manage other volunteers, participate in environmental projects, mentor and tutor children, and respond to natural disasters, among many other activities,” notes NationalService.gov. Check the website: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/senior-corps-programs/rsvp
• Foster Grandparents is a program dedicated to helping children’s organizations through tutoring, mentoring, and caring for youth with disadvantages or special needs. They help in diverse settings, including schools, hospitals, child care centers, detention facilities, and drug treatment centers. (Extra bonus for senior adults who are grandparents — foster and otherwise — a new study shows that both generations experience less depression when there’s a positive grandparent-grandchild relationship.) Go to: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/senior-corps-programs/foster-grandparents
• Volunteer at a local Ronald McDonald House or hospice facility. There are so many ways you can help. From preparing a meal for families to helping with housework, or just taking the time to meet with them to listen to how their loved one is doing, you will be giving a great deal to those whose lives are often put on hold during this time.
• Work at a local shelter or food bank or animal-shelter or facility dedicated to animal help and rescue.
• Seniors Helping Seniors is a program of the Senior Citizens Bureau, which provides educational resources, referrals and support services to seniors, families and caregivers. They have hundreds of volunteers who help with phone calls, e-mails, and research. Check it out here: http://www.seniorshelpingseniors.com/
Another resource in finding volunteer opportunities near you: http://createthegood.org/volunteer-search