11 Ways to Give Back to Your Community After Retiring

Photo (cc) by Larry1732

So, you are retired, financially solvent and — finally — have a little time on your hands. If you’re like many people, you are in search of ways to be involved and to have a meaningful impact in your community.

Here are some ways to get started exploring your new role:

1. Volunteer at a school

Public schools, in particular, are chronically underfunded and in need of volunteers for a wide array of tasks. There are always kids and teachers who need some help. (To work with kids you will likely need to agree to a background check for obvious reasons.) Here are a few roles to explore:

  • Approach your local school, or school district, and ask where you can help as a tutor: math, science and English lead the list.
  • Become a crossing guard. This is a critical position, especially in high-traffic areas and communities that have early rush hours.
  • Every school can use good mentors. Perhaps you were a software engineer and you find out from school authorities that the field inspires some students. Maybe there is even a club you can supervise.

2. Work at a hospital

According to the American Hospital Association, most hospitals require volunteers to go through a vetting process. This usually includes a background check along with an interview and proof of up-to-date immunizations.

Volunteers receive thorough training for the particular positions and annual refresher courses are common, the AHA says. Some typical volunteer roles include:

  • Visiting patients to see if they would like to talk, especially those who don’t have family.
  • Working at the gift shop; most are partly operated by volunteers.
  • Helping to deliver books, newspapers and other reading materials to patients.
  • Assisting in blood drives and health drives.
  • Providing office help.

3. Get involved in politics

Volunteer for a political crusade, grassroots organization or political action committee. You can also work for a candidate you support. Other ways to get involved include:

  • Contact your local city or town hall to see if it has committees that need your help.
  • Work on a board of directors. Find a board in your area on almost any topic.
  • Run for local office.

4. Help on a hotline

There are suicide hotlines in almost every city, manned by volunteers. This is obviously an important — even life-saving — way to help. Here are some other places to volunteer:

5. Contact animal shelters and humane societies

Local animal shelters and humane societies need volunteers to care for animals, organize fundraising events, perform administrative tasks, or help rescue pets in the wake of floods, fires and other natural disasters. In addition:

  • Pet owners can have their pets certified through pet therapy training programs, enabling them to visit patients in nursing homes, children’s hospitals and hospices.
  • You can walk dogs for people who are shut-ins or otherwise unable to take care of their pets.
  • Your local shelter might need someone to foster animals until they can find a permanent home.

6. Check with AARP

AARP has a page on its website for volunteers: Volunteer — Share Your Experience in Your Community. Some options AARP suggests include helping older drivers stay safe and improve their driving skills, and working to end hunger.

7. Become a docent

Many organizations offer docent programs, including:

  • Museums
  • Learning institutions
  • Planetariums
  • Botanical gardens
  • Equestrian parks

8. Lift a hammer for Habitat for Humanity

The organization, which addresses the issue of housing for the poor, gives you the opportunity to find a local chapter. Ways to help include:

  • U.S. Volunteer Program: If you are willing to travel to its headquarters in Americus, Georgia, and work for a minimum of a month, there are several departments that can use your help.
  • Disaster Corps: Lend your professional skills and expertise to affected Habitat affiliates in post-disaster areas.

9. Help Meal on Wheels

The organization, which ensures that shut-ins and the poor have enough to eat, has a web page to help you find chapters in your area.

Spend part of your day not only delivering the meals, but offering an ear to those who might not have everyday human contact.

10. Check out your local YMCA

The Y offers endless ways to give your community a boost. Perhaps you want to motivate young people to develop education skills and community relationships. Or maybe you hope to help adults to live in a healthier way.

You can also coach sports teams and teach classes.

11. Join a choir

Former journalist Henry David Rosso and his choir have sung at hospices, shelters and correctional institutes. The correctional institutes made the strongest impressions on my former colleague, who recalls:

“There were tears all around. One year, at the first dorm it took a little longer to set up the sound equipment and our director looked up at the inmates and apologized and one of the inmates yelled back, ‘That’s OK, we’re not going anywhere.'”

Do you know of ways that retirees can become part of their community or contribute to its improvement? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery

Amazon’s new pharmacy is hardly the first to offer free shipping.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks
12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks

You may be eligible for more retirement income than you realize.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

10 Tools You Need for Financial Stability
10 Tools You Need for Financial Stability

Have these tools and accounts in place so you can weather whatever comes your way.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination
This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Avoid doing this before you get vaccinated.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.