by Charles “Ebbie” Alfree III, Director of Advancement
Some consider volunteers to be the very backbone of non-profit organizations. When you think about it, the individuals who serve on non-profits’ Board of Directors are volunteers! However, not everyone who offers their time to an organization serves at that capacity; there are plenty of other tasks and duties at various levels that need attention. Organizations depend on the kindness of individuals who have a passion for their missions and the time to give.
Volunteering is a perfect activity for seniors, especially those who are retired. Older adults tend to have more free time, since most have already raised their families and/or have left the workforce. The skills they developed during their careers or the talents they have discovered over the years are needed by worthy organizations.
Of course, non-profits greatly benefit from the service of community members; not having to hire someone to do a job a volunteer can perform helps keep overhead down. Conversely, volunteering also benefits the individuals offering their time and talent, especially seniors.
In recent years, studies have shown seniors’ physical health, as well as their emotional, mental and social well-being have been positively impacted by volunteering for non-profit organizations.
According to the Population Reference Bureau’s Today’s Research on Aging – No. 21, volunteering increases self-esteem, offers a diversion from personal or physical issues, helps in slowing or reversing physical and cognitive decline, assists in preventing or reducing depression, and increases life expectancy.
Volunteering provides seniors the opportunity to remain part of their communities and develop intergenerational relationships. It gives them a sense of purpose and the realization that they are not only still needed, but the skills and talents they have honed over the years are still needed and continue to make a positive impact.
Connecting with others and feeling a sense of accomplishment enhances seniors’ quality of life. Regardless of age, most people want to give back and improve society; there is no better way of doing that than by volunteering!
For those looking for volunteer opportunities in West Chester and Chester County, visit www.chescocf.org or www.chesco.org.
Printed in the Daily Local News, May 1, 2017