Mes amis! I hope everyone is looking forward to Thanksgiving (although it seems on the verge of cancellation). Whatever you believe, the holiday spirit is important. Let’s try to be positive and upbeat instead of depressed. It’s been a tough couple of years, but we can make them better. I’ve decided to volunteer at a local retirement home through L.A. Works in order to enrich my own life and the lives of others.
Volunteers who work with senior citizens through L.A. Works shouldn’t be nervous about their first visit. After all, that’s all you’re doing: visiting. The program trains volunteers. As a volunteer, you can opt to stay where you were trained or move somewhere more convenient. You are trained to recognize certain disabilities that are common with advanced age. You need only be 12 years old, but if you’re a minor you need a parent with you when visiting.
L.A. Works wants to know that these seniors are secure in their relationships with volunteer visitors. That means that visitors should expect to make themselves available at least once a week for an hour and for a period of no fewer than six months.
My first visit went well enough. My person was a retired Viet Nam vet who also served in numerous European locations. This provided us with lots to chat about. My story is unique after all. How many of his visitors have been young women who were born in France? He may have been a tad too happy about that. It was clear we respect one another a great deal, though.
It also inspired me to get in touch with a contact who works for a law firm in Pennsylvania. The firm in question has many practice areas, but we talked about the possibility of a career in estate planning. It would be a lot of work — and the job itself sounds mundane and boring. But it’s the people who you work with who make any job worth performing. Estate planning means working with people from all walks of life. In particular, it means working with people who want to prepare for the future.
That’s something I think we should all be doing right now.
Helping others is an enriching life experience everyone should have at least once! Most of those who guide volunteers through their first act of kindness will tell you that volunteers usually come back for more. There’s a special feeling you perceive only when giving. It’s an important feeling.
There are plenty of opportunities even if you don’t live in Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a small community or a larger one. Your task might involve feeding the needy. It might mean painting the side of a building. You might ask about volunteer work through your own job. Companies like Home Depot have employees who devote their time to the community by doing work related to their skills learned on the job.
Whatever you do, do something!