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: 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 the services they have promised but may now be in question due to lack of funding and manpower.

Without this volunteer force we wouldn’t have the caliber of libraries we have with storytelling 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 or The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program that watches over our nursing home residents or the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program that helps our senior population understand their health care coverage.

Without volunteers our police departments, fire departments and hospitals would have to have highly trained personnel 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 who also becomes a winner. 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 their well being and self-esteem. For the not so young it gives them a chance to continue to be productive and an opportunity to share their life experiences and talents.

If you are age 55 or over you may want to consider volunteering your time through the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program. This program places volunteers in almost every type of volunteer position that exists.

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.

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