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Volunteerism: Right At Every Age

February 1, 2010
Volunteers contribute their time to a wide range of secular and religious organizations and in activities as varied as mentoring, coaching, tutoring, office services and management assistance. Adults typically volunteer based on their life circumstances—many coach sports when they have young children involved in these activities. According to a review of trends in volunteering among older Americans by the Sloan Center for Aging and Work at Boston College, seniors continue to stay active in volunteering though their causes change. Volunteers age 65 and older donated an average of 134 annual hours, the equivalent of 3.8 full time weeks, per volunteer to religion and 167 annual hours, or 4.8 full time weeks, per volunteer to secular groups. Volunteering is great not only for the organization or recipient of the volunteerism, but for the volunteers as well, keeping elders active and feeling good about themselves. Some seniors may want to get involve in activities that reach beyond their immediate circle yet not know where they are needed most. The place to start is Senior Corps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency created to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities and the country. At www.seniorcorps.gov, you can search the database to find programs by state like the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), created by Community Service Society, in New York City and Senior Volunteer Services in Broward County, Florida. There are many ways to share your life experiences and your compassion with others.