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Volunteer Work

DataLounge seems to have a large contingent of posters who also volunteer their time and talent to various good causes.

I'm curious --

(1) If you volunteer your time for some charity work, what do you do? and,

(2) What do you get out of the experience? Have you had any negative experiences while volunteering?

I have some free time at this stage of my life -- not a lot of money however -- and I am looking for ideas to enable me to continue to feel productive.

by Anonymousreply 2107/06/2013

I volunteer to visit an old nursing home lady once a week. I thought I would be overwhelmed with depression because old peeps are sad and nursing homes can be squalid. But this lady is pretty happy and the nursing home is very clean and cheerful. Old, lazy labs have the run of the place and all the residents seem to enjoy the dogs.

by Anonymousreply 107/04/2013

The only negative experience I've had volunteering is difficulty in finding a position. In LA, at least, volunteering is competitive. I was surprised to find that I've had to struggle. Then again, I'm an RN and have tried to do more healthcare-related things. There's more liability involved so maybe that's why it's harder for me.

I think it'd be easier to get more difficult positions--manual labor, clothes sorting, etc--than one doing paperwork or counseling.

by Anonymousreply 207/04/2013

I volunteer at a homeless shelter. Guests are allowed in at 5 p.m. for the night. Before that time I (along with others) prepare a snack, get their matresses out from storage, and make sure the bathrooms are clean and stocked. Once the guests are allowed in, we check them off the list so they can get their storage bin. We supervise the line for snacks, and help whomever is providing dinner any particular evening. Dinner is provided by different groups every night- churches, businesses, high school groups, etc.

At this particular shelter, guests are allowed in though they may be addicted to various things. As long as they do not cause trouble and can take care of their own personal needs, they are permitted to stay. The mayor does not like this shelter because of the "unsavory element". But this shelter is run by the local Roman Catholic diocese. The church may be a lot of things, but in this case, they certainly advocate for these people.

by Anonymousreply 307/04/2013

I wonder if volunteers at some places are treated more-or-less as "senior interns."

Don't most large hospitals have scores of senior volunteers doing non-medical tasks to assist in patient care?

by Anonymousreply 407/04/2013

For me it's imperative I find people I enjoy working with. I volunteer for all kind of organizations and as I get older i find myself signing up for jobs that allow me to work alone. Board members can be particularly power hungry and ego driven, lacking social skills.

by Anonymousreply 507/04/2013

r4, I can just see all the grannies lined-up for inspection of their candy striper uniforms.

by Anonymousreply 607/04/2013

R4, liability limits

by Anonymousreply 707/04/2013

In LA I volunteered at the LAGLC.

In Las Vegas I volunteer for the Democratic Party.

I get satisfaction making wherever a better place.

by Anonymousreply 807/04/2013

Is there a clearinghouse for senior volunteers and organizations that need help?

A website that matches up volunteers and needy organizations?

by Anonymousreply 907/05/2013

California Marine Mammal Center. Shovel Sea Lion shit. Supervisor is territorial, the animals are mean if they aren't dying. Releasing a rehabilitated patient into the wild is the only time I've ever felt spiritual.

Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco. Help feed the homeless and poor in the Tenderloin. Late stage drug addicts. Teens who look 45. Old Chinese ladies seeking free groceries, some in need, many not. Some of the most brilliant, funny, fucked up people live in squalor. It's like a slow suicide.

An AIDS hospice. Beyond depressing and hopeless in the early 1990s. Impossible family members, unconsolable partners. I was way too young to be there but I was cute and cuddly and most of the clients deeply appreciated me -- which I only came to realize decades later. Had no clue what I was doing. I learned the concept that helping others is actually about helping yourself. Still, my heart will never mend. Learned to hate America.

It's a weird cultural thing, but I'm far more comfortable dealing with other peoples' problems than my own.

In retrospect, these are easily among the top five experiences of my life.

by Anonymousreply 1007/05/2013

R9, see link.

R10, wish I knew you IRL.

by Anonymousreply 1107/05/2013

Animal shelter. I do a bit of client matching with the adoptables, but I much prefer just socializing the dogs and cats. A few minutes a day of personal attention is about all each one gets, but that makes a big difference.

The dogs need to go outside at least twice a day, of course. What potential adopters don't realize is that there are pre-adoption kennels on the other side of the building (closed to the public) that have twice the number of dogs you see on the adoption floor. Same with cats.

So if you see 25 adorable dogs in adoptions, there are likely 50 more not-so-obviously-adorable dogs (smelly, in need of a clip, possibly untrained) elsewhere in the building.

I never had much experience with cats growing up but I soon found that I have a calming effect on them, so I spend a good deal of time with them too. It's a myth that they're fine by themselves in a cage most of the day -- they also need to be taken out, petted, played with, and most of all HELD. They love it, and obviously you want to keep cats social and curious so they'll enjoy being held by potential adopters.

Sometimes it's the best part of the week.

by Anonymousreply 1207/05/2013

I drive seniors to medical appointments.

by Anonymousreply 1307/05/2013

I deliver Meals on Wheels. I recommend going with one of the smaller, local MoW organizations. They're less corporate.

I totally love it. Plus I get to deduct the mileage.

by Anonymousreply 1407/05/2013

Thanks so much for that link, r11

R14--do they ever have you deliver to an area considered unsafe?

by Anonymousreply 1507/05/2013

Where I live, I can't own a dog. I have been applying to be a volunteer dog walker at my local animal care center. Unfortunately, the waiting list is very long. Yes. There's a waiting list to be volunteers. To become a volunteer, you have to attend an orientation via RSVP. It's booked solid all summer. The next available one is in October, but it's no guarantee.

I had no idea there were so many willing volunteers where I live.

by Anonymousreply 1607/05/2013

No, R14. I volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Santa Monica. Not exactly unsafe there.

by Anonymousreply 1707/05/2013

R12 thank you for loving those animals. I hope you have a wonderful life.

by Anonymousreply 1807/05/2013

Anyone volunteer to go on a date with this guy?

by Anonymousreply 1907/06/2013

Thank you, r11.

Some of those volunteer opportunities make me really sad. I don't know if I could cope with working in hospice. Just thinking about it makes me teary-eyed.

by Anonymousreply 2007/06/2013

I do volunteer work and always have.

I work one day a week with a local health care organization that serves the homeless. I'm not a Christian, but I like that Jesus said what we do for the least of his, we do for him.

Another day I work with a local food bank. There's so much that goes on behind the scenes at food banks, buying food, loggin in food donations and doing data entry. The food bank has moved in the direction of pushing money donations because they can buy food a lot cheaper than their donators can, so that's been an interesting process.

I'm looking into a local hospice that needs people to spend time with patients. People who have become reconciled to death are not morbid at all; I find them very interesting.

by Anonymousreply 2107/06/2013
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