Grownups Who Mentor and Volunteer
Boomers and Empty-Nesters don’t want to be over committed with schedules and yet they want to participate.
I hear this over and over and I understand.
They ask me how to choose, how do they know if they are making a difference, and will they be trained?
You can begin by talking with yourself about things you like:
- The Arts
- Going Green
- Special education
Make a list of what is fun for you. Sounds so simple and yet we forget that step.
Then research those words with mentoring and volunteering attached and see what shows up.
You can also create a mentoring and volunteering position.
I did that when I put together my love of cooking and children. I am not a chef. I am interested in helping young adults have their passions expressed. If you want to know what I created, just email me, email@example.com
If for example, you might want to work with an organization that helps with illness long and short term and with children, set up a meeting with them and have your list of questions. Join one of their events before you say yes to the training and weekly commitment. You might like visiting the children, dropping off meals for the family, connecting with the parents.
If you want to serve at a Food Bank, let them know you will drop by first and see how it feels for you.
Sometimes you can volunteer during Back to School like filling back packs or during holidays and that means you are part of events and not weekly engaged in the organization.
You will know if you are making a difference by the way you feel. If you feel invigorated, that is a YES.
Depending on what you choose, there is a training , for example if you want to be a docent or assist at an after school program.
Just begin your list and your research. Speak with people on the telephone and not just through emails. Ask for a referral. This is your time and you have choices. If you feel that driving too far will be exhausting, move on to another idea. If you want to help with building new homes, visit a site first. Planting trees, sign up to observe.
The holidays are a time for soup kitchens, wrapping presents, collecting donations of toys, etc. You have nothing to lose to check it out now and move in that direction. Volunteers.org (www.volunteers.org) , Volunteer Match (www.volunteermatch.org) and Hands On Network (www.handsonnetwork.org) are three sites to visit and you can enter your zip code on those sites for information.
I know a retired Doctor decided to help by going abroad. A mother who is an empty-nester volunteered to read at the Library at her children’s old school. A dad joined a Food Pantry at 6:30 am since he his children were married and not at home. A Boomer Woman taught architecture for an after school program and holiday camp.
Enjoy the exploration and keep coming back to yourself by asking what am I feeling about this and what thoughts does it bring up for me.
Who can I chat with about mentoring and volunteering?
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better.” Mother Teresa
Founder of Empty Nest Support Services
Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.