Archive for the ‘Volunteerism’ Category

Please join me in celebrating the publication today of How Seniors Are Saving the World:  Retirement Activists to the Rescue! written with my co-author, BJ Kittredge.

The stories of people whose dedication to causes can inspire us all.  In this time of upheaval, they exemplify personal commitment to making the world better in some way as they find meaning in their own lives.

When we began work on this book two years ago, we could not foresee how very timely its birth would be.

You may order the book, hardback or Kindle, by going to Amazon right here, or by asking your local independent bookseller to order a copy for you. If you do read it, please let us know what you think via email, ElderChicks, or Amazon. (We love good reviews!) Your response means more than I can say. The book has been a labor of love, as is this blog we share.

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Totem PoleDid you arrive at your previous leadership position the first day, or even the first year, on the job? Volunteering should not be just about bolstering an ego that might be taking a hit when people are no longer treating you like the boss or you need to fill empty hours; it should also have an element of generosity and that might mean starting at the bottom of a new totem pole. If you are volunteering in an area where you have valuable expertise it will be discovered eventually.

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Philadelphia MuralAfter volunteering all my life, when I faced retirement, i was determined to volunteer for things interesting to me.

Interested in architecture, I volunteered as a tour guide. First I attended architectural sessions to learn about the various styles and periods. Then I even found a part time job at an architectural firm.

Since I no longer cooked for my family on a daily basis, I decided to cook for 60 homeless men, but only once a month. There I received more than I gave, acknowledging their hope and sense of fun.

And then having seen first hand how a juveniles first offense in the criminal justice system could ruin his life, I volunteered for the youth aid panel of Philadelphia. There juveniles are monitored while they perform community service and other obligations during a three-month period. If they fulfill all of their obligations and stay out of trouble, their record is wiped clean.

All of these pursuits have stimulated my mind and enabled me to continue to learn and grow. I think we never retire from that.

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ResumeRegarding leadership in volunteer positions, I’ve learned that when you begin as a new volunteer, you must earn your authority. I retired from a management position where I was accustomed to my opinions being taken seriously, my jokes being laughed at, my instructions and suggestions being followed…but when I volunteered, my resume carried no weight. I was just the neewbie in the room. Those who had longer, deeper experience as volunteers were given deference, no matter what their prior work experience may have been. It took some time for my ego to adjust, but it did…and over time I’ve learned some new skills in how to bring what I know about management to the volunteer world without seeming presumptuous or overbearing…which is a trap those of us used to being “in charge” can easily fall into.

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