Q: I have been a very busy person all my adult life and was looking forward to having free time when I retired. Now that I am retired I find myself with time on my hands, and it is not all that I thought it would be. I’m considering volunteering but not sure what types of opportunities are available. Do you have any suggestions?

A: You couldn’t have timed your question to a more appropriate time. April 12 through April 18 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, a time when many organizations will publicly thank their volunteers for the job they perform.

Volunteering is a wonderful and rewarding undertaking, and no matter what venue selected you will be greeted with open arms. I don’t know of a single nonprofit organization and even some for-profit agencies as well as community-based programs that aren’t looking to volunteers to help provide services.

Without this volunteer force we wouldn’t have the caliber of libraries we have with story-telling hours, computer assistance, literacy programs and gift shops.

Nor would we have museums with docent-led tours, collection inventories and special educational programs. We also would not have live theater with ticket takers, ushers and the cast itself, in some cases. If we didn’t have volunteers we wouldn’t be able to maintain programs such as Meals on Wheels, where drivers do more than deliver meals; the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program that watches over our nursing home residents; or the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program (HICAP) that helps our senior population understand their health care coverage.

Without volunteers our police departments, fire departments and hospitals would have to use highly trained personnel to do jobs that would take them away from the assignments they are trained to perform.

If we had no volunteers our schools would have no teacher aides, homeroom moms, Boys & Girls Club staff, YMCA program leaders or mentoring programs.

Volunteering is a win-win situation. Naturally the organization selected by the volunteer is a winner. However, it has been proven that volunteering is very good for the volunteer. It gives greater life satisfaction, provides a network of good friends and increases longevity.

Volunteering is good at every age level. For young people it increases well-being and self-esteem. Volunteering gives the not so young a chance to continue to be productive and an opportunity to share their life experiences and talents.

If you are 55 or older you may want to consider volunteering your time through the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program. This program places volunteers in almost every type of position that exists. Currently CSVP is looking for volunteers to serve on its advisory board. CVSP is seeking business leaders, nonprofit agency personnel and those working in fields of aging and volunteerism. For more information, call Rick Tanaka at 381-2742.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to each and every one of my readers who are volunteers for giving their time and talents to serve others in their communities. Your community is a better community because of your efforts.


Today: “Do You Know How Volunteering Helps Your Community” seminar, 1:30-3 p.m. at Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive in Westlake Village.

Friday: “Senior Scam Stopper” seminar, 3-4:30 p.m. at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. For information and reservations call Assembly member Jacqui Irwin’s office at 482-1904.

April 23: “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test” seminar, 10:30 a.m. to noon at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call 381-2744.

April 28: Empowered Caregiver Series seminar on “The Importance of Self Care,” 5:30-7 p.m. at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call 497-0189.

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