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Thread: How much do you volunteer? Where?

  1. #21
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    When I retired I volunteered with a few organizations for 3 years and quit about 8 months ago. I got sick of a few things: having to be somewhere at a set time, people acting too important and like it was life or death when it was nowhere close, people being bossy and most of it was grunt work. At 1 point I thought I had found the perfect opportunity. A home for young teen pregnant girls was opening and they wanted to prepare them for being able to support themselves etc. WEll I do career testing and counseling, academic testing etc so I offered to buy the tests which are expensive, do the testing and help the girls come up with a realistic career plan like I did when I was working with clients for 20+ years. I was basically told "Here are the volunteer positions we have available"- "Do you want one of them?" Uh-no. I have always helped individual people my entire life and continue to do that. No more group stuff for me.

  2. #22
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    TT, it is so frustrating when the organizations have limited scope for the volunteer skills available, needed but not included in the program.

  3. #23
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I volunteer 24x7 for our local Fire/Rescue agency. This involves being on call from home and responding to events, as well as serving multiple 12-hour shifts in-station each month. There are also at minimum 4 drill sessions of 3-5 hours a month for various disciplines. So assuming 2 shifts minimum, that's 40 hours of time, before any calls are accounted for, and I generally respond to 3-4 calls a week on average, for 2 hours per call on average, unless it's a major fire/hazmat/technical rescue event, in which case the call can run for much much longer. So it's basically a half-time job, more so if you include the physical training/workouts necessary to consistently pass the physical/agility testing :-)

    I also serve on the county Planning Commission, which generally involves one day a month of meetings/hearings, and probably 3-4 days of preparation/research for each meeting.

    I'm also an elected official for a position that pays ~$200/month, and requires two 3-4 hours meetings each month, plus several days of preparation/other work outside our Commission meetings.

    I'm on the board of our village's water system association - 1-2 meetings a month of 3 hours' duration, plus another 2-3 days of behind-the-scenes work each month.

    I'm on the emergency preparedness team for our local neighborhood association, which requires a few hours a month.

    So, I'm glad I'm "retired".

  4. #24
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
    I do one 12 hour shift a week for a trauma intervention group (usually an unexpected death but can be any kind of trauma), then my husband and I do 2-3 days of Meals on Wheels which we love. I started that for him after he had his stroke because it helped him to practice remembering routes, orders and names. We have become very close to many of our clients. We also grow a huge garden in the summer and take most of it to the food bank or our MOW clients. I used to do Ski Patrol but haven't in a few years.
    I am more happy volunteering than I ever was at work. I love helping people first hand and seeing the results as opposed to my previous job that was cloaked in negativity and interactions were overwhelmingly negative.
    i really
    like approach to Meals on Wheels, you set it up to get specific things out of it yourself. That makes perfect sense!

    We do bulldog rescue, and when we have foster dogs its not because we are doing it out of the goodness of our hearts, we do it because we love bulldogs. They entertain me. I am curious about any one of them, I like the variety of bulldog personalities that come through our house, it adds life and spice to our household, they enrich our lives.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I did forget......I was a baseball coach for ten years. I guess that qualifies.

  6. #26
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    I was also on the fundraising committee for an online rescue group for dogs. WE got one of our dogs from them. WEll I was racking my brain to come up with ideas and then it would take the 2 woman that started the group forever to say yes or no. A friend of mine that fostered for that group said she thought some of my ideas were great and they should have let me do them. They did say yes to some but it took so long that your enthusiasm wanes. After a few years of it I and most of the others gave up. They no longer take in new dogs because they don't have enough $ coming in.

  7. #27
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    I'm not really one for volunteer groups, although I'm always willing to help out if I'm in the right place at the right time. What I don't mind doing is clean up. I take a bag with me when I walk and pick up and separate all the trash I come across. Sometimes I'll do that at the park but mostly in my own neighborhood. We also have beautification days in the neighborhood that I've been part of, and I've participated in a neighborhood gleaning project - there is a lot of edible citrus going to waste here and an organization is gathering some of it for the food pantry.

  8. #28
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    I have participated in the last 4 years on the Board of my professional association. It also helps that I can sometimes use my work place as a meeting space for our monthly meetings too because it's difficult for non-profit associations to find places that are a) free and b) have plenty of free parking. If I was a city planner I'd encourage some public spaces to be made available for meetings of non-profits.
    But I won't be involved after June because I'm winding down til my retirement next year, and it's always good to step aside and let others volunteer too.

    Until about a year ago I also participated in a once/month public park cleanup. Did that for 2+years and it was surprisingly satisfying - maybe it's the instant gratification aspect, plus locals who were in the park were vocal in their thanks.

    I know that after retirement I'm going to decline all volunteering for at least the first 6 mos. Need to unwind and ponder my next activities before jumping into anything.

    p.s. anyone who is participating in a non-profit group and dislikes the hassles of all of the meeting registration, fee collection, website set-up, etc. might be interested in starchapter.com This company charges a monthly fee and takes care of a lot of administrative type work that can make so many volunteers quit or not volunteer in the first place.

  9. #29
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Let's see:

    - Treasurer of our non-profit neighborhood newspaper. I'd say that comes to an average of 25 hours a month all told. I sometimes write articles for the paper, too.
    - Volunteer at the big local food bank. I'm usually on a crew that sorts donated meat/poultry/fish and (probably because I'm the youngest experienced member) I usually end up moving the packed boxes onto pallets. It's good exercise... That's 8 hours a month.
    - I donate platelets at the blood bank every three months or so. Time and energy, right? And platelet donors don't get paid like plasma donors do -- though last time I was given a $5 Subway gift card. Donation takes a couple of hours plus intake time.
    - I volunteer as a reviewer for the local high-school science competition. That calls for reviewing papers or judging the scientific method used by the students as they demonstrate their experiments. That's a once-a-year thing; let's say 8 hours a year.
    - I have volunteered to provide artist support at local art fairs. What I do at my favorite fair, though, has become a paid position (at the expense of spending 35 hours over one weekend at that fair). There still are one or two for which I volunteer for a four-hour shift.
    - I am on the phone bank for a local public radio station, answering as people make their pledges. That's 8-12 hours a year.

    That's it, I think. I'm going to take a nap. lol
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #30
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    after retirement I'm going to decline all volunteering for at least the first 6 mos.
    This is my stance at the moment. Retired all of four days and thinking I am supposed to jump right into things which is my nature. I am thinking about doing volunteer work in the future but right now just contemplating my navel for a few more days. I have done quite a bit in the past mostly to do with native plantings, community food gardens, etc.

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