Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Washington County (PA)

Why Wait to Volunteer?

Mohandas Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” Now add some fun to the mix, and you’ll find yourself wondering why you waited so long to volunteer.

Washington County is rife with fun things to do that involve service to others. Whether you go solo or prefer groups, like the indoors or outdoors, or enjoy spending time with people or animals, there’s something for everyone.

Do you equate fun with being physical? Then lend your energy to any number of special events going around in Washington County or Pittsburgh, such as festivals, concerts, theater productions, and gallery attractions. Serve as a docent, guide, greeter, attendant, storyteller, or committee member.

Now if your idea of fun involves getting your hands dirty, then put them to work in tending to community gardens—planting flowers or trees; sweeping rivers and streams of trash; trail-blazing; or removing knotweeds from scenic wooded areas.

How about being a nature guide? You don’t need a college education in biology to share your exuberance for and love of the environment. Many nature centers provide training and are looking for YOU.

So you have a trade and feel best when you have a project to do? Use your hands to build or repair homes for those devastated by disaster or of low incomes, or perform maintenance for many nonprofits whose focus must be on their needful clients.

What about fun, animal-related opportunities? Many animal shelters in the area are looking for people to cuddle cats and to walk or groom dogs. Be a bunny buddy or an animal foster parent. Or, as part of outreach programs, take animals into the community in hopes of getting them adopted.

Having fun in service to others doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get physical. You can have fun with limited effort—in your own home! For example, if you can’t be on your feet, sit down and use your “crafty” skills to make sock monkeys for children’s homeless shelters will bring much joy and solace to children. Or make veterans happy—sew wheelchair bags to be dispersed at various hospitals. Or make lap robes, blankets, pillows, and turbans for patients in need. Likewise, if you are quite the conversationalist (you know who you are!), then be a telephone pal to someone who is homebound and in need of socialization or wellness checks.

Perhaps you love education. Consider being an aide, mentor, tutor, or life-skills instructor to children, adults, or the mentally or physically challenged. Plenty of schools, literacy programs, and agencies need people like YOU.

 Perhaps the most obvious fun you can have is being an activities aide in a senior home, center, hospital, or school. You can share your talents in art, music, crafts, games, puzzles, dance, and sports. How can you find these fun, senior volunteer opportunities and more? You have only to look to your community. How many agencies, schools, hospitals, or centers can you locate? If you don’t know where to begin, check with your local library. As you know, libraries are great resources—many, if not all, have volunteering information on hand. And, if you’re Internet-savvy, you can Google “Senior Volunteering.” You’ll be surprised at the number of links that pop up.

Ready, set . . . and find yourself by getting lost in the fun service of others. You’ll be glad you did.

Check out a few opportunities here: Volunteer Opportunities in Washington County, PA


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