QUESTION: Now that I am retired, I’m considering volunteering. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: 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 not looking for volunteers to help provide the services that have been have promised but may now be in question due to lack of funding or manpower.

Without this volunteer force, we wouldn’t have the caliber of libraries we have with storytelling hours, computer assistance and literacy programs. We also wouldn’t have museums with docent-led tours and educational programs.

If we didn’t have volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to maintain programs such as Meals On Wheels in which drivers do more than deliver meals, long-term care ombudsmen who keep watch over our nursing home residents or health insurance counselors who help 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 assignments they are trained to perform.

If there were no volunteers, our schools would have no teacher aides or homeroom moms, YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs would have no program leaders or mentoring and senior centers would have fewer programs.

Volunteering is a win-win situation. Naturally, the organization selected by the volunteer is a winner. However, volunteering also is good for the volunteer. It gives greater life satisfaction, provides a network of good friends and increases longevity. It is good at every age level. For young people, it increases well-being and self-esteem. For the not so young, it provides increased productivity and an opportunity to share life experiences and talents.

Volunteering is the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations and community programs that assist our residents — both young and old.

This is Volunteer Recognition Month, and 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 the community. Your community is better because of you.

QUESTION: I have found the speakers at the Thousand Oaks Council on Aging meetings most interesting and am wondering if you know what the program will be for May.

ANSWER: The council will host a presentation on genealogy and how to find your ancestors — “Who Are You and Where Did You Come From?” — at 1 p.m. May 3 in the Civic Arts Plaza boardroom, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks.

Robert Dempster, a life member of the Council of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, will give a presentation on the historic voyage of the Mayflower and the heritage of our Pilgrim forefathers. Dempster serves as governor of the Rancho Conejo Colony of Mayflower Descendants, treasurer of the Jamestown Society and a baron in the Baronial Order of the Magna Carta.

The meeting will be broadcast live on TOTV and on the city’s website at For more information, call 381-7362.


April 23, 2-3:30 p.m.: The History Comes Alive program “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” will be presented by Val Rains at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $5 and are available at the center’s front desk.

April 25, 5:30-7 p.m.: End-of-life planning seminar at Senior Concerns Adult Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations, call 497-0189.

April 27, 2-2:45 p.m.: Long Term Care Ombudsman presents “What is an Ombudsman? What Does an Ombudsman Do?” at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations, call 381-2744.

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