Volunteer vs. Retired

“You have committed to so many projects, you don’t have time to be retired.” Dan Boyle

I found this quote in a post I never published from 6 years ago. It holds true today. I am not content with the word retired. We need a better word for those of us not working for pay. We are working as volunteers  for  clubs, organization, social service agencies , and a host of other entities.

The dictionary says retired means ” having left one’s job and ceased to work.” Well, we may have left our paying jobs but we have not ceased to work. Volunteers are the backbone of our country in many organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report, Volunteering in America, 2015, that indicated over 11,000,000 people over age 65 volunteered. Research indicates that older volunteers “contribute more hours than any other age group, are more likely to be content with their voluntary work and to stick with it.”

Ann and Dan photo
Volunteer Appreciation Party

Charlestown recognizes our value as volunteers with recognition pins and an annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. This year’s theme was Superheros. We both attended.  As our volunteer coordinator says, “the rewards are priceless.”

Dan takes residents in wheelchairs to the Wednesday Mass at the Care Center. He also makes as he describes, “high-quality mac & cheese” for the Daily Bread, the hot food program run by Catholic Charities. He was elected to the Our Lady of the Angels Parish Council last month.

My interests include the Apple Charlestown User Group and being the webmaster of the Charlestown resident-sponsored website, ccicharlestown.org. I am still on  the Residents’ Council as Past President.

So retired doesn’t work for me. Facebook, for example, does not provide a title for being a volunteer. You are either working or retired. I ended up using self-employed as blogger and webmaster. It doesn’t work for many of us. In fact, as the baby boomers reach their “retirement” they don’t want to sit on the sidelines either. Ageism rears its head even with volunteers. The older population is an untapped resource for civic engagement in the years ahead.

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