For decades, you have filled your weekdays building a career, then devoted evenings and weekends to family. When you retire from your career and your family has moved away, you may feel a little rudderless. Volunteering can be just the ticket! Many retirees find that volunteering keeps them socially, mentally and physically active. It feeds your soul to know you are helping others. Put your talents to good use by taking on meaningful projects in your community.
Museums, art galleries, public works departments and historical societies sometimes need help maintaining their artifacts. With the passage of time, paintings can become soiled, sculptures get chipped and murals fade. Make it your mission to contact experts and secure funding for art restoration projects in your community. Some particularly interesting areas are sculpture refinishing and mosaics conservation. While you won’t be doing the work yourself, you can donate time then see your efforts pay off beautifully.
Volunteer at a Zoo
You may love working with animals but find cats and dogs uninspiring. Learn about exotic species by volunteering at a zoo or animal sanctuary. Focus on water wildlife by working with an aquarium. Be aware that you may spend your first months mucking stalls and weeding gardens. Once you have gained some expertise and experience, you can become an integral part of education programs, outreach events and conservation projects. A background or interest in science can help open up worlds of opportunity in these settings.
Provide expertise to entrepreneurs through the local chapter of the Small Business Administration. Many SBA branches participate in a program that matches retired business owners with those just starting out; your training and encouragement can help start-ups succeed. Teach classes at the community college or through the parks and recreation department. Classes may relate to your career, such as how to stage houses for quick sale or investment strategies for beginners. Remember that your talents far surpass your employable skills; you can teach how to build bird houses or speak Mandarin.
Join a Service Corps
You may think of the Peace Corps as the domain of college students and other young adults. However, there is no upper age limit to volunteering or working with the agency. Go around the world helping with agricultural programs, public health education and economic development. If you prefer to travel in the U.S. you may prefer Senior Corps, where you can do everything from organizing assistance after natural disasters to building homes to teaching English.