Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Making a Choice?

 

Photo of my daughter's jewelry making just for fun!


One of the many things that was affected by the pandemic was volunteerism.  Both in terms of my ability and others to to volunteer “among the people “ and in terms of the people getting the help they needed.

I’m aware that many of my fellow retirees have moved past volunteerism, or have never volunteered, or think retirees should not have to include volunteering in their retirement lifestyle. I come from the perspective that volunteers are almost always needed in almost every place, and my faith fosters a sense of this, so as I say it was one of the many things I missed, and missed doing.


Some readers will remember that in the Before Times, my church hosted homeless families for a week at a time in the church. Feeding them, supporting them, helping them with child care, transporting and so on in a family friendly environment with no judgment. That obviously ended in early 2020 although that church has recently started said ministry up again.


I am, and have been, ready for another challenge. I am now mainly out in the world among the people, living my life mainly normally and trying to avoid large crowds indoors especially.  I have missed person to person volunteering (as opposed to working in an office or shelving books or making things for others which I still do often). And so, I have tried to find such an opportunity that works within my limitations.


I am probably healthier than at the beginning of the pandemic. But I have degenerative disease in my legs that’s not going away. While I can stand, sit and walk, I cannot walk quickly-and I cannot stand in one place. So standing and cooking in the kitchen with the residents and then serving them is out. But other things are in. Lots of other things.


I’m currently focused on three choices. One is a much larger commitment than the other three, and my family has encouraged me to reconsider this. Volunteering for CASA as a court advocate for a kid in the system would require a minimum of 15 hours a week which doesn’t sound like much, but I would be committed to the child and reschedules and such would be difficult. It is the option calling to me the most, and I intend to go to an orientation at least and see if this is where I am led.


The second option would be the primary homeless shelter, where there are multiple volunteer options and you can sign up for shifts by the month or less. The needs involve intake, children’s programming (raising hand) and things as mundane as laundry and helping to serve dinner.

 

My last option is a shelter for abused women and children, and would involve both volunteering and acting as an active and participatory board member.

My role after training would be as a companion when my victim is taken to or goes to the hospital.


In the before times (both in terms of covid and age), I would have chosen at least two of these options.


But aging happens bit by bit, especially with chronic disease. I have become more of a homebody and made an even deeper dive into my creative life, which I will share more of later in written and picture form. I have simply come to enjoy the staying at home time. And I want to be free to travel and explore, day by day or for a week, without leaving people in the proverbial lurch.


Next week, I’m touring all the places and doing all the orientations and then we’ll see where I end up. I think I know, but I want to make sure before I decide.


Until frugal Friday, enjoy a picture of someone else’s creativity. My daughter is now full on into jewelry and painting!




22 comments:

  1. I'll be interested in what you choose. I was raised as was my husband, by volunteerers. I suspect it will remain part of our DNA in retirement.

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    1. Probably so. I just seem lost without something. Even a small something.

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  2. I was a CASA in Dallas for 5 years and worked mostly with medical cases. I enjoyed it. I hope you'll check it out. It's much needed.

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  3. Food Pantries are also in need of volunteers! Our local pantry increased clients by 92% over last month. Our shifts are usually just 2 hours and not standing still or moving too fast. THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING!

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    1. They are. But I am looking to do a deep dive.

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  4. All the best in your choice. They all sound very worthwhile and much needed.

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    1. They are.it will be difficult to choose.

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  5. I was the consummate volunteer, room mother, girl scout leader, 4H advisor, Fair superintendent, older youth advisor, or, Sunday School teacher, secretary of church ladies club, secretary of parish council, committee member for a joint church council, church festival committee chair, wardrobe for ballets and school plays and I worked fulltime while raising 5 kids with my husband. I dropped kid activities when I retired, but kept some church and became more politically involved. I do remain on one meaningful church committee, but I have decided to let the younger generation to step up.

    All your activities sound very emotionally involved. You must be a strong person! I wish you the best in your choice and will pray for you. Please take care of yourself, too.

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  6. I am the opposite of you and drawing back a bit from in person volunteering. I will still make prayer shawls, mitts, scarves and hats to hand out, but I am getting a bit too old for the in person thing. Especially when Harvey has a heart problem and Covid still in not where I would like it to be.

    God bless.

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  7. This is one area that I need to get involved in during my retirement. In the past I have enjoyed volunteering at a local homeless mission and helped served meals a few times. It was always a joy and I need to get back there again. Good for you for seeking out these opportunities!

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  8. Great article...I do miss volunteering at our church as I was in charge of several fund raisers before I needed a knee replacement.I planned on going back to volunteering for our church but then the Pandemic hit and because of my auto immune diseases, I am still wary of doing so as we just had Covid...Something I am going to definitely consider more seriously in the coming months...
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  9. For me volunteering is critical and I missed it dreadfully. I am back to doing it at least a couple of times a month. I would like to do more of it, but the organizations schedules and my availability do not coincide every week. Wishing you the best as you find what fits you!

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  10. I volunteer as a writing and language tutor, mostly for ESL. We used to do it in person; now we do it on zoom. It's not as effective, not as rewarding ... but it's something.

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  11. I have learned I need to really want to want to volunteer, or I'll quit. Meaning it has to meet my needs as well (hope that makes sense). I currently volunteer at two places where I get to have brief, happy interactions with the public in a merchandising situation. Both places are very happy places for me to be (a library used book store and a state beach) and all profits are used to offer public programs, which satisfies my need to give back.

    Tamara R

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    1. It does make sense. My needs involve deep diving for a cause and one on one interactions with individuals bring helped. Which means choices one and two are casa and the abuse advocate.

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  12. You are to be commended for the deep dive and I feel certain that you will find the perfect fit. We're still traveling most of the year in our RV and that limits our volunteering primarily to church activities. We love our church and the activities are fun and rewarding but plan to branch out when we come off the road. Happy diving. Looking forward to finding out where you land. Joe

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  13. I curtailed my volunteer activities when Covid shut us all down but I am ready to resume. There is a food pantry/community service org locally that I love,called AZCEND. I only have time and energy to do one morning a week. The causes you’re looking at look very emotionally committed as well as a lot of time. If you are up for that, I know you’ll be a great asset to the community .To me, it sounds like way more time and emotional investment that I would want to make.I over did it early on in retirement: Part time job after real estate school, multiple volunteer activities, clubs,etc.Now,I have honed it down quite a bit.I enjoy more time on my own and with arts and crafts. Glad to see your blog back and look forward to hearing about ALL your endeavors!

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  14. Like Madeline K, my volunteer activities were curtailed by the pandemic response - the community association, Home Routes house concerts, cemetery association. I'm rethinking those commitments. I spend more time now helping friends with moving, child care, projects than the more formal volunteer commitments. I commend you for your commitment.

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  15. Whatever you decide to do (or don't do) will be a perfectly valid choice. It is wonderful you are considering giving of your time and energy, but it is also OK to acknowledge your limits and own personal self care needs. I hope you find the perfect balance.

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Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear from others, and I also love to hear all points of view.. Just leave the profanity and insults at home, OK? Thanks!!