Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience -- that's why so many people do it. It's a great way to help others, and share your life experiences and wisdom -- plus you can always learn something new.
Volunteering through Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs has additional benefits geared specifically toward their participants. For example, a newly retired person might have a hard time leaving the nine-to-five working world. It can be difficult to be constantly on the move, and then suddenly shift to getting up at 7 a.m. only to have no place to go. Becoming an RSVP volunteer can help with that adjustment by providing you with volunteer work to help ease that transition. And it's not just for the newly retired. If you've been retired for a while, but you're starting to get tired of your new routine, being an RSVP volunteer can help ease you back into being active.
RSVP doesn't require its participants to have previous volunteer experience, nor does it mandate a large time commitment from you. RSVP offers a number of different programs with varying time commitments [source: Community Service Society]. You can volunteer for projects that utilize skills you already have or you can choose opportunities that will teach you new and interesting things.
Many scientists and health professionals agree that people who are active and socially engaged have more fulfilling life experiences. As an RSVP volunteer, you'll have the opportunity to meet many new people while staying active.
And, perhaps the biggest benefit to volunteering is getting more time to enjoy your retirement. It turns out, volunteering could lead to a longer life. According to a recent study, retired volunteers aged 65 years old or older are less likely to die than retirees of the same age who do not volunteer [source: Forbes].
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a part of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, look for a chapter in your area by visiting their Web site (http://www.seniorcorps.gov/about/programs/rsvp.asp). To learn more, visit the links on the following page.
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- Community Service Society. "Volunteer Information." (Accessed 5/1/09) http://www.cssny.org/services/rsvp/volunteer_information/
- Corporation for National and Community Service. "RSVP." (Accessed 5/1/09) http://www.seniorcorps.gov/about/programs/rsvp.asp
- Department of Human Assistance. "Retired Senior Volunteer Program." (Accessed 5/1/09) http://www.dhaweb.saccounty.net/Senior/RSVP.htm
- Forbes. "Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer: Altruistic activities could cut the death risk in half, study finds." (Accessed 5/13/09) http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2009/05/08/hscout626809.html
- Get Involved. "Join RSVP Today!" (Accessed 5/1/09) http://www.getinvolved.gov/ready/nationalservice/rsvp.asp
- National Association of RSVP Directors. "Benefits Provided by NARSVPD." (Accessed 5/1/09) http://narsvpd.com/benefits.htm
- Peterson, Todd. "Katrina Heroes Get Oprah's Favorite Things." People Magazine. November 21, 2005. (Accessed 5/1/09)http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1133261,00.html
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program. "RSVP." (Accessed 5/1/09)http://myrsvp.org/
- RSVP Volunteer. "Central Iowa RSVP." (Accessed 5/1/09)http://www.rsvpvolunteer.org/resources.htm
- Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. "Retired and Senior Volunteer Program." (Accessed 5/1/09)http://www.volunteerinfo.net/senior_volunteer.php