Today’s retirees recognize that an active retirement tends to be more rewarding than simply sitting around the house, and that attitude is reflected in the vast number of retirees who volunteer with various nonprofit organizations and other programs across the globe. The following are a handful of volunteering opportunities for those retirees who want to give back and make the most of their retirements.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds and repairs homes for people in need. It has a program titled “Care-A-Vanners” in which volunteers typically spend two weeks traveling around the United States and Canada in rented RVs (retirees who own RVs may be able to drive their own vehicles) building and restoring homes. Volunteers must pay their own way and bring along their own supplies, such as work shoes, gloves, tool belts, and some tools (power tools are typically provided by the local Habitat for Humanity chapter), and free or low-cost RV parking is provided by Habitat for Humanity. Adventurous retirees who enjoy hitting the open road may find “Care-A-Vanners” matches their love of travel with their desire to give back.
Work with children
Many retirees, especially those without grandchildren or who live far away from their grandchildren, find volunteering with children to be especially rewarding. The opportunities to work with kids are numerous, and retirees can choose a volunteering opportunity where their own life experiences come in handy. For example, retirees who worked in the medical field might want to volunteer their time at a local children’s hospital, where they can assist families as they cope with a child’s illness and spend time with the children themselves, whether’s it’s tutoring sick children, reading them stories or helping them understand their illnesses.
Retirees with considerable experience in the business world may want to work with a mentoring program that matches them up with career-minded youngsters.
Retirement is often seen as a time to travel and see the world, and many retirees have started to combine that love of travel with service opportunities. Globe Aware, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments. Each activity aims to promote cultural awareness and promote sustainability in needy communities. Volunteers work to address issues identified by the host communities as particularly pressing, interacting with the local residents in ways that are often impossible on more traditional vacations.
Meals on Wheels
Retirees tend to have their mornings and afternoons free, making them ideal candidates to volunteer with programs such as Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit organization devoted to delivering nutritious meals to those with limited mobility who are unable to prepare their own meals. The program delivers more than one million meals per day across the United States, and Canada has its own meal delivery programs as well. Many Meals on Wheels volunteers are retirees, who can decide their level of involvement upon volunteering.
Disaster relief programs may be less predictable than more routine volunteer programs, but retirees often make great volunteers at disaster relief sites. Unlike working professionals who cannot travel to disaster relief sites without ample planning ahead of time, retirees often find the flexibility of retirement allows them to pitch in when an unforesee natural disaster strikes and volunteers are needed seemingly overnight. Many disaster relief programs need volunteers who are certified in CPR or have other unique lifesaving skills, but even retirees without such skills can help by handling supplies or by comforting and assisting survivors of natural disasters.