Resources for Seniors Interested in Volunteering-
At Southgate at Shrewsbury retirement community, we offer ongoing activities, events and programs that help enhance our residents’ physical and mental well-being. From our state-of- the-art health club/spa to our indoor swimming pool, four-lane candlepin bowling alley, well- stocked library and 200-seat theater, we ensure that there are always productive and enjoyable ways for people to spend their time.
Of course, at this stage of their lives, many seniors also want to use their skills and experience to help others. Although this sentiment typically reflects a long-held (if not lifelong) desire, it is only now—with the newfound luxury of free time—that seniors are able to act on these impulses.
And that’s why, from generation to generation, volunteerism is so widespread among retirees.
Since the demand for volunteers is consistently strong in communities large and small across the U.S., chances are good you can find an activity that’s aligned with your interests. In fact, there are a seemingly unlimited number of resources that can help you find the perfect position right here in Worcester county.
This blog highlights a few of those resources.
Let’s begin, however, with several examples of volunteerism that are activity- or location- specific.
Popular Channels of Volunteerism
Services for the blind
The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired—with a branch location right here in Worcester—is the oldest program in the country providing services to adults with vision loss. (In fact, Helen Keller served on its first advisory board.) Volunteer positions range from driving clients to medical appointments to acting as their escort shopper, serving as their gym buddy or simply reading to them. For details, visit https://www.mabcommunity.org/mabvi/home.html.
Docents/ushers/clerks for museums, art galleries, performance halls and historical sites
Residents at Southgate at Shrewsbury retirement community are fortunate to live in central Massachusetts, an area conveniently located near numerous world-class cultural institutions. Whether they’re based in Worcester (e.g., the Worcester Art Museum, the Worcester Historical Museum, the Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts) or elsewhere (e.g., Tanglewood, the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Old Sturbridge Village), these institutions are continually in need of volunteers.
Animal rescue shelters
Who wouldn’t enjoy bringing happiness to some of our neglected furry (feathery? “scaley”?) friends. From answering emails to fielding phone calls or providing general administrative assistance, local shelters always have tasks guaranteed to keep animal lovers busy.
Nothing is more fulfilling than helping those less fortunate. The Worcester region has many places—from established food banks and soup kitchens to church-affiliated emergency food pantries—that support families during difficult times. Volunteers can help with tasks such as distributing hot meals, organizing local food drives or soliciting financial support. To find a food pantry nearby, visit https://www.foodpantries.org/.
In this fast-paced age of technology, let’s not forget the important role that libraries still play in society. For many people (especially those without convenient computer access), libraries serve as somewhat of a lifeline—connecting them with their neighborhoods through local job and housing postings, live community-sponsored programs and events, official town notices and book sales. Shrewsbury is home to a newly renovated, expanded library; check out its volunteer opportunities (e.g., shelving books, watering plants, folding newsletters) at https://shrewsburyma.gov/397/Volunteers.
From mentoring a 7th grader in math to teaching a family the basics of swimming and healthy nutrition, there are many volunteer activities offered through the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. Visit http://www.ymcaofcm.org/membership
As mentioned earlier, there is a treasure trove of resources available to help you find your ideal volunteer position. Some of the most popular websites—all of which include searchable functionality down to the city and town levels—include:
• https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps. A Federally-sponsored organization, Senior Corps offers opportunities as diverse as foster grandparenting and home renovating to volunteers aged 55 and over.
• https://beone.pointsoflight.org/. Dedicated to connecting volunteers with the causes they love, The Points of Light Foundation was established in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush.
• https://www.score.org/. SCORE volunteers mentor small business owners in disciplines like finance, technology and accounting.
• http://createthegood.org/. A service of AARP, Create the Good enables volunteers to share their life experiences, skills and passions in support of their local community.
• https://www.volunteermatch.org/. VolunteerMatch connects volunteers with more than 90,000 nonprofit organizations around the world.