People who volunteer during their middle and later years live longer, stay more active and are happier according to a growing body of research.
They experience a sense of purpose in the years after focusing on raising children and working full time. Meeting new people and learning new skills keep their minds keen and healthy. They report feeling good about themselves and their accomplishments as active contributors to the quality of life in their communities and beyond.
Such a variety of volunteer opportunities are available, there’s an excellent chance of finding a good fit. There’s work with children, youth and older adults. But also, there are opportunities to work out of the public eye in office environments or at home. There are animals who need volunteers as well as parks and neighborhoods. Some volunteer jobs may call for skills already learned during a former career. Others will offer training in new technical or personal skills.
When we first retire, we revel in the freedom from the time demands of the job. Signing up to be somewhere on a regular basis for a set number of hours may not appeal. There are many opportunities to work on events or projects that are short-term commitments. However, later in their post-retirement “coming of age,” many find that a regular volunteer schedule gives welcome structure to their time.
There are always more things to be done than there are volunteers to do them. People looking for volunteer opportunities will be greeted as the heroes they are. And they’ll have a longer, healthier, happier life for their efforts.
Here are some ways to find out more:
A fair for potential volunteers to meet people from the organizations who need them. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at Peter Kirk Community Center, 352 Kirkland Ave.
A national program with local connections: seniorcorps.org
City of Kirkland Volunteer Programs
firstname.lastname@example.org or (425)869-6066.
“Coming of Age… Again” is edited by the Kirkland Senior Council, a group the City of Kirkland created in 2001 to advocate for older adults in our community. The council is made up of people living or working in Kirkland who want to help improve and maintain the quality of life for people in Kirkland as they grow older. Membership is open throughout the year.