Baby Boomers are members of a diverse group born between 1946 and 1964. Some still cope with teenagers at home, others pay university tuition fees, some care for aging parents while still others enjoy their grandchildren. Some baby boomers work full-time, some part-time, while others contemplate retirement or are already retired. Their interests and aspirations are as diverse as they are. They are always looking for new experiences, challenges and how to make a difference. Baby boomers want to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn.
Because of their sheer numbers, baby boomers influence and redefine every stage of their lives. Volunteering will be no different.
Research indicates four main reasons why baby boomers volunteer. They want to:
• Support a cause that they believe in.
• Make a contribution to society.
• Share their skills.
• Do something meaningful with their friends and colleagues.
More importantly, baby boomers want to volunteer on their own terms. Consider some of the challenges that baby boomers face:
They don’t have enough time.
• Theirs is known as a sandwich generation – caring for children and aging parents simultaneously leaves less free time.
They don’t have time during traditional work hours.
• Many baby boomers work full-time and many work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Unless their employers have a corporate volunteering program, these volunteers can’t always be available when you need them.
They don’t identify with traditional images of volunteers.
• The clichéd image of a kindly white-haired volunteer clashes with the way baby boomers see themselves – more youthful and dynamic than their parents.
They don’t want to do routine or menial volunteer tasks.
• With less free time, many of today’s volunteers expect challenging and meaningful work that reflects their skills and experience.
Short term (episodic) or a regular commitment?
Volunteering doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Between work, children, aging parents, homes, hobbies, friends, appointments, and other commitments, you may not think you have much time left over. But your involvement can be as much-or as little time as you have.
• You can volunteer sporadically, to help out at a special event, or on an on-going basis, for one day a week or a few days a year.
• If you go away on holidays, your volunteer work can be put on hold or shared with another volunteer.
Front line help or behind-the-scenes support?
You can join your local community clean-up or lead the development the funding proposal.
Volunteering from home or out in the community?
Virtual volunteering can be done from home through Internet sites that link volunteers with recipients. You could connect to kids who need homework help or people who need a life coach.
Whatever you choose, be realistic about your commitment
Organizations can accommodate your interests and your time frame, no matter how little or how much you can do– but they do need you to show up when you say you will. The people they serve count on you.
The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley has numerous current volunteer opportunities available with 159 local non-profit agencies. To secure volunteer opportunities call the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley at 272-2087 or email email@example.com. Volunteer opportunities may also be accessed at www.vccv.org.