Finding Your Volunteer Niche
By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement
I love it when a new year begins. Everyone seems to have ideas to make the year better. As I go through the grocery check-out line, nearly every magazine headline offers a way to lose weight or make yourself a better person. So, when I saw “U. S. News and World Report” had joined in with the cover story of “50 Ways to Improve Your LIfe in 2011” I was intrigued.
Fifty ways seems like a lot of ideas and I was not disappointed. Various writers offer unique ideas for improving your year, from reviewing diet and exercise options to thinking about where you live and health issues.
However, the idea that spoke to me was Alex Kingsbury’s idea of volunteering in “Find Your Volunteer Niche”. If you have never volunteered in your life and you are retired, you have automatically lost one of the common excuses of not having enough time. You do now!
I was heartened to read that nearly one quarter of Americans volunteered in 2009. The internet has played a major role in that. A website called VolunteerMatch. serves tens of thousands of non-profits, but their focus is on a younger demographic. Actually, that is a great way to keep current and appreciate the youth of today.
Another website created by AARP is Create the Good (www.createthegood.org). Long a supporter of volunteerism, AARP encourages people to use skills they have developed through work experiences and life experiences to change the world. There are numerous opportunities for all ages and abilities.
In retirement, it is too easy to sit back and feel your best days are behind you. If you have thought about volunteering, but lacked the motivation or don’t know where to begin, these websites can be a good starting point. 2011 truly can be a great year and it could be the year you positively change someone’s life, including your own.
About Alane Cunningham
Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.
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