FOCUS ON SENIORS: Volunteer to start the new year

Opinion Jan 15, 2017 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

At the beginning of each year, many people make resolutions or complete a personal audit that often results in the search for new activities or accomplishments. If you are one of these people, you might want to consider volunteering.

Begin by selecting a local organization that has some meaning for you. It should be a place where your skills and interests can be of the most assistance. It’s acceptable to anticipate some positive benefits for yourself from your volunteer experience. Instead of thinking about volunteering as something you do for others, begin to think of it as something you can do for yourself.

Most people find themselves in need at some time in their lives. Today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else’s volunteer effort. For example, you might be a tutor for someone who can’t read, while last month you may have visited the hospital where a volunteer helped you.

To become a volunteer, the process is very similar to conducting a job search for paid employment. Expect to be asked to complete a volunteer application form. This will provide the administrator with enough preliminary information to match your skills to their organizational requirements. You will probably be invited for an interview, be asked to provide references and even be asked to provide a police check.  

Some people are uncomfortable with idea that a volunteer can “benefit” from doing volunteer work. Volunteering has a long tradition as a form of charity and involves the desire to serve others.

People volunteer for many reasons. Time is a precious commodity and people tend to be quite selective in their choice as to how they spend it. Therefore it is important that volunteers feel good about what they do. There are many reasons for volunteering such as: people new to a community or neighbourhood choosing to volunteer to get to know the area; or people with a strong commitment to a distinct cause may become involved to further the mission.

Others may want to gain or improve their leadership skills, do their civic duty, give back because of a good personal experience or from pressure from a friend or relative. Newly retired individuals often look for volunteer opportunities to keep busy or to acquire personal satisfaction.

Other reasons for volunteering have included looking for a way to repay a debt, donating professional skills, having an impact, learning something new and helping a friend or relative.

Once you have selected your organization, identified what you will do, received training and are ready to go, there are other things to think about. For example, while you may be keen and eager to begin, experience has shown that starting small is the best way.

You probably have a busy personal schedule, but just about anybody can free up an hour or two a week or perhaps one day per month. As time goes by, you might find you enjoy the work and have more time to dedicate to it. This would be the time to begin considering increasing your time commitment.

As time passes, ask plenty of questions. It’s the only way you’ll be able to discover if a particular organization is the right match for you.

Try not to be discouraged or to give up. You might be faced with challenging tasks, difficult fellow workers, busy times, slow times or even questionable management. Work through these things the best way you can. If it needs doing, look for ways to ease the task or prepare better for the next time. It’s OK to ask for help, especially if you’re overwhelmed, confused or stuck. Fix the problem. If it’s in your way, it’s in everyone else’s, too. Or ask to do something else more in keeping with your talents or skills.

Remember to have fun. People accomplish so much more if they enjoy what they are doing.  

Finally, keep in mind that if the experience isn’t working out, it’s acceptable to look for another organization that might benefit from your particular area of expertise. There are dozens of nonprofit organizations and charities that rely upon volunteer assistance.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) has many volunteer opportunities. Watch for the new volunteer job posting recruiting someone to manage the social media aspects of the GRCOA and updating the website on a regular basis.

Watch this column for more volunteer opportunities.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Volunteer to start the new year

Opinion Jan 15, 2017 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

At the beginning of each year, many people make resolutions or complete a personal audit that often results in the search for new activities or accomplishments. If you are one of these people, you might want to consider volunteering.

Begin by selecting a local organization that has some meaning for you. It should be a place where your skills and interests can be of the most assistance. It’s acceptable to anticipate some positive benefits for yourself from your volunteer experience. Instead of thinking about volunteering as something you do for others, begin to think of it as something you can do for yourself.

Most people find themselves in need at some time in their lives. Today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else’s volunteer effort. For example, you might be a tutor for someone who can’t read, while last month you may have visited the hospital where a volunteer helped you.

To become a volunteer, the process is very similar to conducting a job search for paid employment. Expect to be asked to complete a volunteer application form. This will provide the administrator with enough preliminary information to match your skills to their organizational requirements. You will probably be invited for an interview, be asked to provide references and even be asked to provide a police check.  

Some people are uncomfortable with idea that a volunteer can “benefit” from doing volunteer work. Volunteering has a long tradition as a form of charity and involves the desire to serve others.

People volunteer for many reasons. Time is a precious commodity and people tend to be quite selective in their choice as to how they spend it. Therefore it is important that volunteers feel good about what they do. There are many reasons for volunteering such as: people new to a community or neighbourhood choosing to volunteer to get to know the area; or people with a strong commitment to a distinct cause may become involved to further the mission.

Others may want to gain or improve their leadership skills, do their civic duty, give back because of a good personal experience or from pressure from a friend or relative. Newly retired individuals often look for volunteer opportunities to keep busy or to acquire personal satisfaction.

Other reasons for volunteering have included looking for a way to repay a debt, donating professional skills, having an impact, learning something new and helping a friend or relative.

Once you have selected your organization, identified what you will do, received training and are ready to go, there are other things to think about. For example, while you may be keen and eager to begin, experience has shown that starting small is the best way.

You probably have a busy personal schedule, but just about anybody can free up an hour or two a week or perhaps one day per month. As time goes by, you might find you enjoy the work and have more time to dedicate to it. This would be the time to begin considering increasing your time commitment.

As time passes, ask plenty of questions. It’s the only way you’ll be able to discover if a particular organization is the right match for you.

Try not to be discouraged or to give up. You might be faced with challenging tasks, difficult fellow workers, busy times, slow times or even questionable management. Work through these things the best way you can. If it needs doing, look for ways to ease the task or prepare better for the next time. It’s OK to ask for help, especially if you’re overwhelmed, confused or stuck. Fix the problem. If it’s in your way, it’s in everyone else’s, too. Or ask to do something else more in keeping with your talents or skills.

Remember to have fun. People accomplish so much more if they enjoy what they are doing.  

Finally, keep in mind that if the experience isn’t working out, it’s acceptable to look for another organization that might benefit from your particular area of expertise. There are dozens of nonprofit organizations and charities that rely upon volunteer assistance.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) has many volunteer opportunities. Watch for the new volunteer job posting recruiting someone to manage the social media aspects of the GRCOA and updating the website on a regular basis.

Watch this column for more volunteer opportunities.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Volunteer to start the new year

Opinion Jan 15, 2017 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

At the beginning of each year, many people make resolutions or complete a personal audit that often results in the search for new activities or accomplishments. If you are one of these people, you might want to consider volunteering.

Begin by selecting a local organization that has some meaning for you. It should be a place where your skills and interests can be of the most assistance. It’s acceptable to anticipate some positive benefits for yourself from your volunteer experience. Instead of thinking about volunteering as something you do for others, begin to think of it as something you can do for yourself.

Most people find themselves in need at some time in their lives. Today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else’s volunteer effort. For example, you might be a tutor for someone who can’t read, while last month you may have visited the hospital where a volunteer helped you.

To become a volunteer, the process is very similar to conducting a job search for paid employment. Expect to be asked to complete a volunteer application form. This will provide the administrator with enough preliminary information to match your skills to their organizational requirements. You will probably be invited for an interview, be asked to provide references and even be asked to provide a police check.  

Some people are uncomfortable with idea that a volunteer can “benefit” from doing volunteer work. Volunteering has a long tradition as a form of charity and involves the desire to serve others.

People volunteer for many reasons. Time is a precious commodity and people tend to be quite selective in their choice as to how they spend it. Therefore it is important that volunteers feel good about what they do. There are many reasons for volunteering such as: people new to a community or neighbourhood choosing to volunteer to get to know the area; or people with a strong commitment to a distinct cause may become involved to further the mission.

Others may want to gain or improve their leadership skills, do their civic duty, give back because of a good personal experience or from pressure from a friend or relative. Newly retired individuals often look for volunteer opportunities to keep busy or to acquire personal satisfaction.

Other reasons for volunteering have included looking for a way to repay a debt, donating professional skills, having an impact, learning something new and helping a friend or relative.

Once you have selected your organization, identified what you will do, received training and are ready to go, there are other things to think about. For example, while you may be keen and eager to begin, experience has shown that starting small is the best way.

You probably have a busy personal schedule, but just about anybody can free up an hour or two a week or perhaps one day per month. As time goes by, you might find you enjoy the work and have more time to dedicate to it. This would be the time to begin considering increasing your time commitment.

As time passes, ask plenty of questions. It’s the only way you’ll be able to discover if a particular organization is the right match for you.

Try not to be discouraged or to give up. You might be faced with challenging tasks, difficult fellow workers, busy times, slow times or even questionable management. Work through these things the best way you can. If it needs doing, look for ways to ease the task or prepare better for the next time. It’s OK to ask for help, especially if you’re overwhelmed, confused or stuck. Fix the problem. If it’s in your way, it’s in everyone else’s, too. Or ask to do something else more in keeping with your talents or skills.

Remember to have fun. People accomplish so much more if they enjoy what they are doing.  

Finally, keep in mind that if the experience isn’t working out, it’s acceptable to look for another organization that might benefit from your particular area of expertise. There are dozens of nonprofit organizations and charities that rely upon volunteer assistance.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) has many volunteer opportunities. Watch for the new volunteer job posting recruiting someone to manage the social media aspects of the GRCOA and updating the website on a regular basis.

Watch this column for more volunteer opportunities.