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Volunteers of America


LoneStar
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The past several weeks I've been considering doing volunteer work in my community. I'm wondering at 52 if others will feel I have anything to offer. I'm also not certain where to begin.

 

My interest, at the moment, would be to work with youth. However, I'm not in condition to throw a football around or go camping. Therefore, I would like to read your ideas.

 

Also, if you volunteer I'm interested in your experiences and suggestions on where to start.

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Lonestar look at it this way. You have 52 years of life experience and a good portion of that is work experience. Take a look at what is available and who you might be working with. I bet you can offer more then what you might think you can. Best of luck and let us know how things work out.

 

Hugs,

Greg

Greg Seattle Wa [email protected]

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It is an interesting subject. I wonder what prompts you to think that working with youth would be satisfying, as opposed to, say, old people? Given that you are 52, would it be possible that you are trying to hold on to your own youth?

 

So many of us are "getting older" and wondering where that leaves us. The emphasis on youth in gay society is overwhelming. As we get older we might wonder how we can still make a difference. But it seems a stereotype that older gay men want to work with youth. Is that the best way to feel useful? And youthful?

 

My feeling is that the decades of experience that you have should determine where your volunteer energies go. So if you are particularly suited to working with young people, go for it. Just so you know your motivations. If you are just looking to "stay young" you might find it is a losing cause!:)

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>It is an interesting subject. I wonder what prompts you to

>think that working with youth would be satisfying, as opposed

>to, say, old people? Given that you are 52, would it be

>possible that you are trying to hold on to your own youth?

>

 

When I first entered the adult workforce I was a social worker with a caseload of abused and neglected adolescents. I had enjoyed the trying to make a difference in their young lives. Obviously, it's an area I had a comfort level with.

 

I'm looking to better other lives which gives me self satisfaction. I find being around old people quite depressing. You're satisfaction apparently comes from different sources. I wish you well.

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RE: Rescuers of America

 

I was at first tempted to "lash out" at your comment, but then hesitated and reflected. What is it about "old" people that you find depressing? The fact that you too will eventually be "old?" or is it the way we interact with you? I don't want to be argumentative or negative, just would like to learn and possibly improve?? Even though I'm "old" to most demographers (I'm 65) I do not want to be relegated to the trash bin of society. There are still loads of things I want to do, places to go and people to meet and get to know.

.

Volunteering: What you opt to do with your extra time, has little to do with your age. It has much to do with your experiences, your expertise, your abilites, your physical condition, your interests. Those who work with young people have to have special talents; those who work with older, or old, people have to have talents, which may be different, but I doubt it. Patience, empathy, creativity, motivation, sincerity and selflessness are just a few of the characteristics which I have found necessary. I have been a literacy volunteer for years--working with seasonal farm workers, adult drop-outs, new immigrants, to name a few. Is it rewarding? Definitely. Do I see immediate results? NO, but the rewards are incalcuable.

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RE: Rescuers of America

 

>I was at first tempted to "lash out" at your comment, but

>then hesitated and reflected. What is it about "old" people

>that you find depressing? The fact that you too will

>eventually be "old?"

 

Speaking only for myself, I've done a lot of volunteer work with both kids and the elderly and I, too, far prefer to work with kids, and can understand why someone might find working with the elderly depressing.

 

For me, it boils down to the fact that kids are so open to the possibilities that lie ahead of them and tend to be so much more receptive to outside influences. As a result, the work you do with them can really have a positive influence on their lives.

 

By contrast, the elderly (and this is a GENERALIZATION - lots of exceptions) tend to be very fixed in their ways and don't want to learn anything new and are closed to things. Many of them, especially the ones who you can work with on a volunteer basis, may be very pleasant people with a lot you can learn from them, but many of them have taken the attitude that they are basically in a holding pattern waiting to die. That can be depressing; it was for me.

 

I know I'm getting older and don't mind. I actually thought I'd like working with the elderly because I thought they would be more open (because what do they have to lose) and I thought I could learn from them. While I did learn some, I find that working with kids is much more gratifying and you can make much more of a difference.

 

I don't think it's fair to accuse people who have this preference of running away from their own aging process. I just think that some people find it better to work with kids just because they find it more enjoyable and constructive.

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At age 65 (regardless of what the demographers say) I don't feel old and recently began volunteering at the local hospital. I have found it fun and a good use of my time. Think about your interests and go for it! If your first choice does not work out, there are so many different organizations looking for outside assistance. Keep looking. You will find your niche! Good luck.

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Guys the purpose of my post was to find out where you volunteer and about your experiences. It wasn't meant to be about old or young people.

 

I am also considering volunteering with drug prevention programs, suicide prevention programs, meal on wheels programs, local law enforcement has several programs from what I've heard ... I am open to ideas. I'm exploring at this stage.

 

I hope this clarifies my post.

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After a couple of years of retirement, I began to miss working with people of various ages, so I started volunteering as a tutor in a program for high school dropouts who are trying to get their GED (general education diploma, a nationally-recognized substitute for the traditional high school diploma). The students have ranged in age from 17 to 60, and I generally find that the older ones are the most serious and satisfying to work with, even though the younger ones learn more quickly. In the past I have taught graduate students, college students, high school students and elementary school students, and each level has its satisfactions and frustrations. The most important thing is to identify what you are interested in doing and capable of doing, and then find people--of any age--who want and need your help.

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>Guys the purpose of my post was to find out where you

>volunteer and about your experiences. It wasn't meant to be

>about old or young people.

>

>I am also considering volunteering with drug prevention

>programs, suicide prevention programs, meal on wheels

>programs, local law enforcement has several programs from what

>I've heard ... I am open to ideas. I'm exploring at this

>stage.

>

>I hope this clarifies my post.

 

I volunteer for people with Alzheimer's.

 

I am a Grad student and a research assistant at a University, my interest are in Horticulture as therapy.

 

We started a program where people with Alzheimer's, from local nursing homes, are brought to the greenhouse to work with plants. We have a special area set up for them that is save and pleasant, with professional health care workers to ensure their safety.

 

It is immensely fulfilling, working with plants has a calming affect on people, but it brings great joy to people with Alzheimer's, it gives them a sense of purpose and the ability to work independently, which is something that most of them feel they have lost.

 

There are many programs where you can volunteer, my suggestion, do something that is close to your heart. My father has Alzheimer's, he was the inspiration for he the program we started, if working with children is what you want to do, then do it, only you can decide.

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For the past 25 years I've been working for a couple of communities, specifically in developing and working with programs (educational and recreational) for people of all ages ... from toddlers to senior citizens. Working with people of any of these age levels can be fulfilling.

 

However, in my experience, the most fulfilling experience I've ever had was working with people who were severely mentally disabled. I found it highly fulfilling to work with individuals who never "learned" society's quirks ... such as racism, intolerance, etc. They don't see your skin color or sexual preference. They simply see what kind of person you are.

 

Working with these individuals taught me a great deal about life and love.

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As others have said you need to figure out the sorts of things you enjoy and volunteer around that in order to get the most fulfilment. I volunteer as a programmer at our local LGBT film festival. The people I work with are great, I get to see lots of (often really bad) films I would never see anywhere else, and it's fun to see the fruits of our year-long labor come to fruition during the festival's run.

 

I also used to volunteer at my local animal shelter walking the dogs and spending time with the small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc) to socialize them. It was rewarding but I find I don't have so much time anymore.

 

I don't think your age should be a barrier. If you want to work with youth perhaps a tutoring or mentoring program of some sort would be good for you. Those don't normally require camping or any special physical exertion.

 

There are also things out there like preparing meals for the homeless or infirm if you like cooking.

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