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Volunteer: You Can Make A Difference!


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One way to make a difference in this economic environment is to volunteer. You don’t have to look beyond the classified ads to realize how important this concept really is. Organizations are feeling the pinch due to cost cutting and belt tightening. With real unemployment at 17%, it seems no one is immune from the axe. Charitable contributions are down by almost a third nationwide and institutions are turning increasingly to the volunteer to make up for staff cuts induced by the drop in income. No entity has been spared. Libraries, hospitals, Boys and Girls Clubs, schools, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) have all been affected. Coaches of all sports don’t have the time to volunteer as they did before. They either are working more hours to keep their jobs, or have taken a second job to pick up the slack in a household which may have lost an income; or perhaps they, too, are looking for work. People are needed to fill the void of others who no longer have the luxury to volunteer. If you have extra time and energy you are a candidate to volunteer.

What can one do to help? You are only limited by your imagination. If you need ideas, look at the free classifieds in your community. Besides energy what can you offer? If you are or were a parent then you certainly can assist in a non-profit day care center; bring your child for a win-win! How about a hospital which has a shortage of staff? Surely you can bring books or read to the patients. How about helping at the visitors’ desk or hospital shop? Or maybe you have the time and vitality to train for the ambulance corps. Hospital related facilities are only one venue for the volunteer. Schools and libraries need tutors and assistants to fill formerly paid positions. Food cooperatives are more important in these times and need help. By volunteering you are not only providing meaningful service to the community at large but are personally gaining a sense of well-being which cannot be overstated. Moreover, your efforts may be contagious and set an example for children and oldsters alike.

Many employees hoped to work long enough to collect their maximum Social Security benefit at age 65 or 66. Well, the economy had other plans! But you may have been fortunate enough to make it to age 62 and apply as you are frustrated by the job market. What now? You are still vital! Now is the time to recover your self -esteem and volunteer. Scour the classified ads to get a feel for meaningful ways to help. Classified ads in community papers may also show you the way. Who knows, besides feeling better about your situation your efforts and exposure may just lead to part-time or full-time employment. Also, studies show that those who volunteer are healthier and live longer. But by being a volunteer you will be making a contribution that will benefit all.

Kristi, in addition to her financial career has been a volunteer for more than 35 years. A classified ad led her to Meals on Wheels and she has been a volunteer at more than a dozen entities. You can help, too. Start by searching for volunteer work on


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