April is National Volunteer Month, and to celebrate, WestMass ElderCare invites you to volunteer with local seniors! Not only can you help an elder stay nourished, manage their funds, or stay socially connected (just to name a few available volunteer opportunities), you grow and find new rewards in so many ways. In fact, our volunteers often say that their service time is their favorite part of the day!
With as little as two hours a month, you can enhance the quality of life for many people in your own community while growing yourself. Here are just four of the countless advantages:
You Can Learn from Experience
Even though volunteers aren’t paid in money, they often receive a wealth of knowledge and stories from the seniors they work with—wisdom that only comes from a lifetime of experience. Growing up in different times with different challenges, seniors can offer new perspectives and alternative insights that can expand your perspective and enrich your life.
You Can Make New Friends
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and expand your social circle. When you join a team doing charitable work, you know that you’ll share common interests, values, and even history. This commonality can grow into wonderful friendships as you continue to bond and support others together.
As many WMEC volunteers can attest, friendship isn’t exclusive to those on your team! Many older adults seek and benefit from social connectivity. Both our consumers and volunteers are buoyed by seeing each other and sharing quality time.
You Can Change a Life
There’s no feeling quite like knowing that you positively impacted another person’s life. WMEC volunteers make a difference in the lives of Western Mass. seniors and younger people with every day. The gifts of your time and attention can help people stay financially sound, fed and healthy, safe when living alone, mobile and active, connected to their communities, and so much more. Your efforts may seem small to you, but they are enormous for those who receive them. Not a bad return on investment for only two hours a month!
You Can Boost Your Resume
For people who want to work with elders or hold similar career interests, volunteering with seniors offers valuable resume experience you can’t find anywhere else. Through your volunteer experience at WMEC, you can strengthen your interpersonal skills, organizational acumen, knowledge of community resources, and many more skills to boost your future job-searching efforts.
In addition to improving your resume, you can bolster your network! Not only do you meet people in your preferred field, but you can establish connections and professional references for years to come.
Take It from Our Volunteers
Duane Camp, Citizen’s Advisory Council
I had been managing my mother’s financial affairs for several years and could see how beneficial the [Money Management] program could be for others. I also attend the WMEC monthly Board of Directors meeting, as the Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) liaison, to update the CAC on the Board’s business. I have always enjoyed volunteering. It’s a way for me to give a little back for all the good that has come my way. I know that I get back more than I give when volunteering.
Bethany Boys, Volunteer Meals on Wheels Driver
I currently volunteer between two-to-three days per week, and I always love seeing my “regular” consumers. Like Sandy, who loves to chat about her cats. I enjoy hearing their stories about their lives — many of them don’t get the chance to tell them very often. I think this is one of the huge benefits of the Meals on Wheels program, above and beyond the nutritional value.
Penny Sotiropoulos (Left), Healthy Living Programs Teacher
I so enjoy meeting new people, especially those in the senior centers, and being able to make them feel happy and comfortable. One of my passions is teaching, so to be able to educate them weekly on different aspects to healthy living was what I enjoyed the most. What was most rewarding was when I would get feedback from the participants about how much they enjoyed the workshop.
There’s no time like the present for helping your community and yourself through volunteering. Get started with our opportunities today!