Have Time? Your Help is Needed
Views and opinions expressed in Bob’s Blog are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of the Office on Aging or its staff. Posted November 2, 2022.
Can I ask? Where are you at in life right now?
Are you already retired? Are you sitting in your home as you read this?
Are you in your 50’s and 60’s and still working? Have you given much thought to what you will do after you retire?
I am going to make a blatant pitch in this Blog Post.
Have You Considered Doing Some Volunteer Work Now or After You Retire?
Why do I ask?
First, I am sure you want to make a difference in your life.
You may not realize it. By volunteering you can make a difference.
There are many people and organizations right here in Knoxville and Knox County that need help.
Many of these are suffering. They have a mission to help people in different ways. They set goals for the number of people they want to help. They frequently don’t reach their goal and help all they want to because they don’t have all the volunteers they need.
When they can’t do what they want, the people reaching out to them hurt. Their needs go unmet.
Second, when you help others or an organization, the people or the organization appreciate what you do for them. You also benefit from the help you give them.
Third, if you don’t help, it’s possible that no one else will. If that happens, the people and the organization will continue having the need they have right now. That is really sad.
Locally there are many different organizations that need volunteers. There are also many different ways people, like you, can help them.
Where Do You Start? How Do You Get Involved?
As I did research for this post, I read many different articles. In one of those, I saw something I had never seen before.
The article suggested that before you jump into anything, look at what you are good at. Find a volunteer opportunity where you can use those skills you already have. By doing that, you will do the best work you can.
- The people you are helping will benefit the most.
- You will do the most good for the organization you’re volunteering at.
- You will feel good about what you are doing.
So, focus on doing what you are good at. Don’t focus on work that you dislike and don’t have any desire to do.
- If you’re not into carpentry or painting, don’t volunteer to repair or paint homes.
- If you don’t like gardening or landscaping, don’t cut grass, rake leaves or build walls.
- If you’re introverted and like to stay behind the scene, don’t volunteer to be a spokesperson for the organization. Don’t be out front of others and interact with a lot of people regularly.
You will not enjoy doing any of these. You probably won’t do a good job. You also won’t get any satisfaction with what you do. You will burn out quickly.
Do Something You Really Enjoy! Leave What You Don’t Enjoy to Oher People.
Also focus on doing volunteer work in an area or with people you are passionate about.
- If your desire is to help the homeless, volunteer with an organization which focuses on them.
- If you desire to mentor younger people, volunteer at an organization which helps these people.
- If you desire to work with smaller children, volunteer at an organization which works with them.
- If you desire to help people who don’t have enough to eat, volunteer at a Food Kitchen or a Food Pantry.
Look For Volunteer Work in Line with the Skills You have at an Organization Where the Mission and Values are Closest to Yours
Next – research the organizations at which you think you might want to volunteer. See what their beliefs and mission are. Pick those that have the mission you most identify with and where the beliefs are most in-line with yours.
If you volunteer at an organization where the beliefs are opposite yours, there is going to be a conflict for you. There will also be a problem for you if you don’t support their mission. You will never do your best work and you won’t last long at that organization.
Before you start to volunteer, pick 2 or 3 organizations where you might want to volunteer. See what you would be doing at each. Pick the one where you will have the greatest impact, where you think you will really get along with the others with whom you will work and where you will have the most fun.
The next step is to determine how much time you have to volunteer. You are better off starting with a short amount of time. As you get accustomed to what you are doing, you will know how much you like it and whether the work and your time there has met your expectations. If it has and you have more free time, you can increase the amount of time you spend volunteering.
One of the Main Reasons to do Volunteer Work is to Make a Difference.
Most frequently you will impact the lives of others less fortunate than yourself. As you do this, you will see how they benefit from your help. That will be satisfying for you.
You may not realize it. You will also benefit from the work you do in ways you never thought of. You will:
- build friendships with people you probably would never have met before.
- build a sense of community with those whom you are helping and with whom you are working.
- eliminate loneliness in your life. Just by being with the people you are helping and those with whom you are working, you won’t feel lonely.
- will be more physically fit and age more gracefully.
- may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s later in your own life.
- will also increase your level of happiness.
In the process, your own emotional stability will improve. Your self-worth will increase.
You May Want to Start Volunteering but Don’t Know Where
You may have always wanted to do volunteer work but don’t know how to find organizations that need help or who to contact to find out about their volunteer opportunities. There are quite a few in Knoxville and Knox County. Let me give you an idea of some:
Your church – Every church regularly is looking for people who attend to help out.
The Office on Aging – There are many different opportunities available. The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) can tell you about them. The phone number is 865-524-2786.
Food Pantries – Second Harvest of East Tennessee has a list of the Food Pantries in Knox County on its website. This link, https://secondharvestetn.org/find-a-food-pantry, has a map of the counties they serve. Please click on Knox County. A list of the food pantries in the county will come up.
Compassion Coalition – 865-251-1591
- Angelic Ministries – 865-523-8884
- KARM – 865-387-7477
- Volunteer Ministry Center – 865-524-3926, ext. 230
- Connect Ministries – 865-851-8005
For the name of more organizations, please check out Volunteer East Tennessee. They help people of any age choose among various volunteer opportunities at local nonprofits. The phone number is 865-582-4085. They also list opportunities on their website – www.volunteeretn.org.
Want to Volunteer with Your Spouse or Family Members?
If you are married, you and your spouse may want to volunteer together. There are opportunities for this. One is delivering meals for the Mobile Meals program. The phone number for this program is 865-524-2786.
You may want to volunteer as a family with your children or grandchildren. There are opportunities where you can.
Just Know . . .
. . . The people you help through your volunteer efforts will be grateful for the help you give them. You will also find the help you give very rewarding.
If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, I would love to get them. Please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.