Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Change Agent

Looking for a few good boomers to help others

Retiring baby boomers are proving to be valuable volunteers. 'A part of paying for our spot on earth is to help those who need help,' says one.

(Page 2 of 2)



Peak age for volunteering tends to be in the mid-30s and 40s, Mr. Dietz says, when married couples and those with children are more likely to be exposed to situations in which people need volunteers – say, coaching for a child's soccer team or giving time to local scouts or schoolchildren as a mentor or group leader.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Many boomers are also delaying retirement and working into their golden years because their nest eggs have taken a hit in the last few years, giving them less time to volunteer.

An August 2011 Associated Press-National Constitution Center Poll found that 65 percent of baby boomers had done some type of volunteer activities through or for an organization over the past year. That is significantly less than adults younger than boomers. The top reasons baby boomers did not volunteer in the past year were not having the time, 69 percent, and health issues or physical limitations, 19 percent.

For boomer Kathy Herrala in Negaunee, Mich., volunteer service started when her now-grown children were young, in Girl Scouts and the school orchestra, and continues into retirement.

"We all have to give back," says Ms. Herrala, who retired four years ago from her longtime job recruiting volunteers for Marquette County. "A part of paying for our spot on Earth is to help those who need help." 

Herrala is volunteering as part of an American Red Cross team dispatched to disasters. She also now has time to turn to a great passion of hers: health care.

Herrala says she's seen too many people in desperate need of health care, so she began volunteering with a program called the Medical Care Access Coalition. It provides medical care to low-income people without insurance.

One experience Herrala says she'll never forget was the day a woman without dental care came to her with dentures that didn't fit properly. Every time the woman needed to talk, she had to take out her teeth so she could speak. Herrala tried to help her find a dentist.

"It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing you can do something to help someone else," Herrala says.

• Associated Press News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

• Sign up to receive a weekly selection of practical and inspiring Change Agent articles by clicking here.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!