In Your Prime: Seniors are the bulwark of volunteerism, to everyone’s benefit

The National Air Force Museum is one of several places where seniors can volunteer in the Dayton area. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/KEN LAROCK
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The National Air Force Museum is one of several places where seniors can volunteer in the Dayton area. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/KEN LAROCK

If we’ve paid attention to good financial advice like that in these surrounding pages, we retirees in our prime will be able to volunteer some of our time to worthy institutions, with rewards to ourselves as well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) says about half of us physically-capable seniors volunteer, contributing heavily to the over $8 billion annual volunteer hours in the US.

My wife and I both volunteer. We explain senior volunteering as giving back, self-fulfillment, keeping young, etc. People simply feel good volunteering.

Volunteers are literally needed; it’s no exaggeration that many of our institutions could not function without them. A few years ago I researched where people volunteer locally; here are few estimated findings with heavy senior representation.

-- Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm: About 800 volunteers, 18,000 hours annually.

-- Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: 100 volunteers, 6,000 hours.

-- Dayton Art Institute: 500 volunteers, 10,000 hours.

-- Dayton History: 300 volunteers, 36,000 hours.

-- Victoria Theater Association: 700 volunteers, 60,000 hours.

-- National Museum of the United States Air Force: 550 volunteers, 100,000 hours

In addition to that good feeling, there are more tangible benefits to volunteering. For us seniors, volunteerism keeps us active, provides continuing education, and is often a social activity. I’m no psychologist, but it would also seem to increase our sense of self-worth as continuing contributors to society; givers as opposed to takers, as it were.

So regardless of our reason, or combination of reasons, for volunteering, we just do it! And our neighborhoods, our institutions, and our cities are much better because of us.

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