There are many misconceptions out there about volunteering, but the most common one we come across is that you have to be “young”. Why? The typical perception is that younger people are fitter, stronger and better able to deal with the challenges that volunteering in a foreign place can throw at you; however, it’s in fact the opposite that’s true.
Here at indiGO, we’ve found the most enriching volunteer placements – for the both the volunteer and the charity or cause they’re helping – are with retiree volunteers. Yes that’s right, you heard it here first – just like a fine wine, volunteers get better with age.
indiGO Volunteers CEO Holly Penalver says that while young people are indeed excellent volunteers, retirees are slowly but surely making their mark in the volunteering world by bringing maturity, wisdom and decades of life experience to the organisations they’re assisting.
“Providing help to people in need can often be a confronting and emotional experience; and what we’re hearing from the charities and projects we send people out to is that its our older volunteers, with their wealth of experience and life perspective, who can best manage themselves in those tough situations,” she says.
“Our retiree volunteers have more time on their hands to dedicate to charities and causes, which means they can stick around for longer periods of time and make real, lasting impact on the communities they’re helping.
“And not only that, but having a sense of purpose post-retirement is really giving our older volunteers a whole new lease on life.”
Geoff, one of our retiree volunteers, describes his recent volunteering placement as an immensely rewarding and enriching experience.
“I believe education is the key to personal growth as is equal opportunity,” says Geoff.
“This is the guts of why I personally choose to volunteer as both a counsellor as well as in underdeveloped countries where opportunities are few if you don’t have an education.”
So if you know a someone who fits this bill and would make a top-notch indiGO Volunteer, tell them to visit indigovolunteers.org