Retirees living far from their grandchildren (or waiting patiently for their grown children to produce some) might especially enjoy the rewards of volunteering with children. The Senior Corps Foster Grandparent program connects volunteers age 55 and over with children in Head Start centers, schools and other youth facilities [source: Senior Corps]. The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization gives adult volunteers ("bigs") the chance to build lasting one-on-one relationships with children in need of caring adults in their lives [source: Big Brothers Big Sisters].
Many children's hospitals rely on volunteers for activities such as tutoring patients, reading stories, monitoring playrooms and assisting families with whatever they may need during a child's stay [source: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia].
Most volunteer opportunities involving children will require a background check and a commitment to volunteer for a certain number of hours per week over a specified duration, such as three, six or 12 months.
In some cases, volunteering with children can be financially beneficial as well as personally fulfilling: Some foster grandparent volunteers qualify to receive a tax-free hourly stipend, and a growing number of public school systems offer seniors a rebate on property taxes in exchange for their time volunteering in the classroom [sources: Senior Corps, Garcia].