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Volunteer Opportunities That Retirees Should Consider

July 9th, 2013 Inspirational

Whether your retirement is on the horizon or you're already in the midst of your golden years, there's only so much traveling and time spent with your family you can do before you realize that you have plenty of free time on your hands that you don't know what to do with! Staying active is a key part to enjoying your retirement, and now that you have extra time to work with, this could be the perfect opportunity to help out in a variety of capacities in your local community. Volunteering can be a wonderful way to meet new people and you'll gain the satisfaction in knowing that you made a difference. Here are a few ways that you can get started right away with organizations that could use your assistance.

Volunteer at your local animal shelter
If you have a love of animals and the right temperament to work with them, your local animal shelter could always use a bit of help. Since the vast majority of these facilities function on a non-profit basis, they are always looking for donations and some helping hands. You can lend a hand by becoming a foster parent to pets looking for homes, helping out around the shelter to socialize and provide stimulation for the animals or play an active role in fundraisers. Best of all, you'll be helping out the many furry friends in your area and may just help a dog or cat find a loving family.

Work at a soup kitchen
Soup kitchens and other forms of outreach are valuable services that help the less fortunate in your community, and they are always looking for volunteers to provide assistance. Whether you decide to whip up some baked goods to donate, do a bit of grocery shopping or be there in person to dish out warm food, your efforts will certainly be appreciated by anyone who walks in the door. Of course, spending time in the facility and getting to know some of the individuals that frequent there could be a rewarding experience and give you a chance to meet people from all walks of life.

Volunteer at your local school system
Even if your kids have long since graduated from your local educational system, there are a variety of services that you can provide. Start by attending local PTA meetings and speaking with administrators and teachers to let them know about any unique skills that you could have to offer the school system. Everything from writing to cooking to art could be valuable subjects that could lead to you teaching a course or holding some kind of workshop on your own time. These forms of outreach are invaluable for students and could contribute to creating a well-rounded educational environment.

Rebuild homes in your community
There are a variety of outreach programs like Habitat for Humanity and even religious mission trips that will allow you to rebuild homes and the lives of individuals in the process. Even if you don't have a wide range of carpentry or manual labor skills at your disposal, you can still play a valuable role in getting to know the people whose homes you're working on, as well as doing less intensive tasks like painting, scraping and other prep work that can contribute to the overall goal of improving the house. This is a wonderful opportunity to make lasting connections with people in your community and you'll feel great knowing that you helped to improve a family's lives in the process.