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Volunteering in Middle Age

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 19 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Volunteering Opportunities Volunteers

By the time that they reach midlife, most people have a few causes that mean a great deal to them. Having lived a bit often presents people with situations that they feel need attention and when they have the time to offer their efforts to make a difference, they often do.

Choosing a Cause

While there are truly countless causes that need the help of volunteers, very few people have the time to dedicate to more than one or two specific causes. Between work, family, and other obligations, finding time to volunteer can be tricky for even the most motivated volunteers.

Because time is often hard to find, volunteers are most likely to stick with their volunteering commitments if they select wisely, most often choosing to make a difference in an area that has touched them or someone that they care about. Whether it is literacy, hunger, homelessness, or raising funds for research of a specific illness or disease, volunteers are most dedicated when they feel a personal connection to the cause.

Giving From the Heart

Many charitable organisations rely heavily on the kindness and dedication of volunteers to keep their doors open, so without the giving spirit of volunteerism, countless good works would be left undone. Middle aged people provide a great deal of the volunteer staff for many charities, largely because by midlife, most realise the importance of giving back to society and being responsible members of their communities.

Helping others often brings as much joy to the givers as it does to the recipients. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Putting Your Skills to Good Use

Every single person has something to offer others. By midlife, most people are quite aware of their personal strengths and abilities, and in volunteering, they can utilise their gifts for the greater good. Those who have found there way back from difficult situations may want to speak to others who share similar struggles, showing them that there is hope and leading them toward brighter futures.

Business professionals may lend their marketing or bookkeeping skills to a favoured cause, and since virtually all charities need continuing sources of funding, those who specialise in fundraising are sure to be appreciated. Many people, even those who would love to make a difference, refrain from volunteering because they fear that they have no special skills to offer, but virtually everyone has something to give, whether it is mentoring children or serving hot meals to the hungry.

Making Volunteering a Family Affair

For those in midlife who are parents, volunteering as a family can help the kids to develop a sense of civic responsibility that they are likely to take with them throughout their lives. Leading by example, middle aged parents can show their family members that by offering their time and efforts to benefit others, each person has the ability to make the world a better and more caring place.

Locating a Charitable Organisation

Volunteer opportunities are everywhere, from small towns to large, metropolitan areas. Locating a particular charity can usually be accomplished by performing a quick internet search. Typing in the name of a specific illness or cause will usually lead to a variety of sites, with the top few most likely to be “official” headquarters of the most well known organisations. Those who prefer to donate their time to smaller causes near home may want to inquire at their churches, schools, or community centres for ideas.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" – Aesop

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