Communities are only as strong as the people who put the time and effort into making them that way. And now more than ever, communities need contributions.
Older adults are the cornerstone of communities. They are the financial drivers of arts, cultural, and social organizations. They bring years of experience as civic leaders, grandparent caregivers, and historians. They offer seasoned skills, talents, and resources. And their wisdom and self-direction help organizations solve complex problems while advancing missions.
Volunteering your time, talents, and resources to the neighbor next door or the community as a whole connects you to others and yourself. It improves your physical and mental health, too. According to a Corporation for National and Community Service study, Americans over the age of 60 who volunteered reported lower disability and higher levels of well-being compared to those who did not volunteer. Giving to others is also proven to reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.
Engage in life: You don’t have to make a long-term commitment or invest long hours to see the benefits of volunteering. Giving back in simple ways — like donating books or working at a food pantry for one hour — will help those in need and give you meaning.
How to Get Started
Finding ways to use your unique gifts and passions to make a difference can be the source of a life-changing experience for you and those impacted.
The key to finding volunteering opportunities is to think about how you can best make an impact. What has brought you meaning and joy in life? What activities or moments in your work or personal life have had a positive impact on others? These organizations can also help point you in the right direction for volunteer opportunities near you:
In addition to the above, if you have experience doing your own taxes, you may want to volunteer with the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation Program. Tax-Aide is a program that offers free tax filing help for those who need it most, especially adults 50 and older, during tax season. AARP membership is not required. There are a variety of roles for individuals at every level of experience who want to make a difference in someone else’s life. Volunteer tax preparers complete tax preparation training and IRS certification prior to working with taxpayers. There is also a need for grassroots leadership, on-site greeters, and interpreters who can provide language assistance.
For more information about volunteering with AARP’s Tax-Aide Foundation program, contact Lynne Leopold-Sharp at 717-640-5006 or [email protected].
Whether you want to help people directly, support philanthropic causes, or provide other services to the community, there will always be as many ways to contribute as there are volunteers.
Focus on possibilities: When you use your passions to make a difference, you will leave a lasting legacy for yourself, others, and the community.
TroveStreet is Here to Help
If you haven’t already, create an online profile with TroveStreet where you can jot down things you want to keep handy based on what you read or save this article for easy access. TroveStreet offers a Quick-Start Planning Tool with four questions to facilitate your planning. If you have questions or want to connect with a Planning Navigator, call TroveStreet at 717-363-1129.