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Volunteer Gigs
Old 09-13-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Volunteer Gigs

Since I stopped my part-time employment earlier this year, I've increased the amount of time I spend volunteering. What kinds of volunteer work do the rest of you do?

My favorite: For several years I've had a single case as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) / Guardian ad Litem. Some retired people in my local chapter practically do it full-time. I took on an additional case when I stopped working, it still isn't taking a tremendous amount of time, but the time I do spend is really interesting and rewarding. (Even with 2 cases with a total of 3 kids I probably spend about 16 hours a month) I was worried when I went through the training that it would be too hard emotionally, but surprisingly it hasn't been.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #2
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I volunteered at a low income help center for five years. I was a volunteer cop for nine and a half years. During my 'copdom', I volunteered at the court as well.

Presently I'm not involved in any volunteer activities, but I might in the future. If I do start again, it will probably be in law enforcement.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:55 PM   #3
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I volunteer as a clinician in the US to give free healthcare to those who are uninsured - or abroad doing the same, especially in Central America.

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What kinds of volunteer work do the rest of you do?
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:02 PM   #4
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I serve on the board of a local charity to help homeless animals and volunteer at the local animal shelter - primarily by fostering cats and kittens. I've also helped 5 new charity groups with their formation including incorporation and approval by the IRS as a 501(c)(3).
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:50 PM   #5
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I work with a local anti-poverty group on various advocacy projects. Mostly grant writing and helping with their research projects. I'm also on the board and would like to see us do some strategic planning.
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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DW used to be a hospice nurse. We aren't doing it yet, but are talking about doing some volunteering as a couple at one of the local hospice facilities.
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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I spent three years doing the books & tax returns of a (very) small non-profit. That was educational but it was mainly to support my kid's activity, so when she moved on I moved on too.

I volunteer for the screening committee of an investor's group. We work with the presentations of entrepreneurs seeking funding. From there they make their presentations to the main group, and if there's enough interest we follow up with a month or two of due diligence. I'm also on the board of one of those startups. It's been one heck of an education and I sure hope the learning curve is beginning to flatten out. I did this mainly so that I wouldn't be tempted to try it when I'm 75 years old, and it's succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

I guess writing "The Military Guide" counts as a volunteer gig-- all royalties (after taxes) go to military charities. Learned a lot there too.

Otherwise I prefer to donate money rather than my time.

Spouse volunteers for a military literacy non-profit and she's joined the board of a WWII memorial organization. She enjoys the challenge(s). I enjoy taking care of her luggage when we travel as part of her volunteer work. Both of those organizations have also provided very educational insights on how non-profits do (or should not do) their missions.

Volunteering around here seems to involve the same dissatisfiers that deter me from paid work: driving through rush hours, dealing with difficult people, attending endless meetings, and wearing office attire.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:04 PM   #8
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I deliver meals to elder/disabled folks through the local Meals-On-Wheels program every Thursday. I also take the same route on Monday, when the "snowbirds" who cover that day go to Florida for the winter.

I also give blood every eight weeks at the local blood center (not for profit). One could argue if that is considered volunteer work, but it's something I did not do when I wo*ked.

When I retired in early '07, I was looking to do something that "satisfied my soul". I started working with a local credit council group and received "certification" (that was their word for the training) to give classes to folks that needed help in basic money management. Unfortunately, that did not work out. Nobody was interested (e.g. their "customers") were interested in finding out how they could save/manage their money, rather than just manage their debt through the credit counseling organization.

As far as I'm concerned, a few hours, 1-2 days a week is fine with me. More than that would be more like wo*k. Additionally, if I want to skip a day, I just have to let them know in the morning for meal delivery. They have quite a large back-up roster.

Also, when you see some of the living/physical conditions of those I deliver meals to, you get to feel truly blessed for the life you have...
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:08 PM   #9
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I like to see so many of you folks do vounteer work..........I do a lot myself, I am currently running my 2nd non-profit, and help at other stuff as well.
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:00 PM   #10
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I do some hiking trail work on our mountain, and also just recently took on the web development/maintenance of the nature foundation's site, along with helping them with any other computer issues. I'm also spending an entire Saturday (well, just 6am til midnight or so) on top of a mountain in 2 weeks, running an aid station for a trail race, and I'm on the board of our non-profit trail running club.
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:24 PM   #11
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I'm the treasurer of my Condominium association -- while it's not a 501(c)(3), someone's got to do it.

I also volunteer once a week with the Seattle Humane Society where I take pictures of the dogs and write their descriptions for the web site. I'm on the board of a singles group, and am the newsletter editor and with another volunteer we update websites and Meetup.com. Finally, about 3 times a year I work at a local community radio station during their pledge drives.

Any more than this and it begins to feel like real work.

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Old 09-13-2010, 05:15 PM   #12
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Do not contribute any time at all, too much like w*rk.
Do send large amounts of money.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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Nothing formal, but I paint the lines for the high school football games. If I do anything, it will likely be on my own like sending stuff to the troops or really short term stuff like helping out doing some conservation work. Like Khan said, formal volunteering is too much like work. I've served on boards for Little League and DW has done so for other organizations. In my experience, your work isn't really appreciated, you get a lot of people telling you what your doing wrong but no one will pitch into help. The burnout rate is high. Thanks anyway.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:57 AM   #14
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For two years, I volunteered two days a week teaching basic computing skills to immigrants. I enjoyed that but the semesters were 18 weeks long and travel plans conflicted so I had to drop it. I'm currently the volunteer PC, TV, and other gadget fixer for for Capitol Hill Village, a nonprofit organization that helps its members age in place in their homes. I meet lots of fascinating neighbors who I would otherwise never encounter.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:04 PM   #15
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My wife and I volunteer about 5 hours each week through Catholic Social Services in their Refugee Program. We help set up houses/apartments prior to their arrival.
I also do occasional project work for the local county park system, such as squirrel proofing their bird feeders at the Nature Center. I also work about 1 morning each month at our church's food bank.
I also joined the local Power Squadron and plan to teach safe boating classes. It's all very rewarding.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:36 PM   #16
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I volunteer with the local homeless shelter advisory board, and the Boy Scouts.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:50 PM   #17
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I do not give a lot of my time to charities (except for the occasional project at the local animal shelter). I prefer to give money.

But I do give a lot of my time to older relatives. I help with maintenance, yard work, shopping trips, and much more.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:05 PM   #18
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But I do give a lot of my time to older relatives. I help with maintenance, yard work, shopping trips, and much more.
That's really nice! As the saying goes, "charity begins at home".
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:36 PM   #19
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Most of my volunteer work coincides with my hobbies, so I consider my volunteer work in those areas simply an extension of my hobbies.

One activity is my involvement with the National Scrabble Association's School Scrabble program (see my username?). I am an advisor and guru to several area schools, working with kids ages 10-14. I also run small tourneys among the schools I work with.

Another activity is helping an instrcutor at a local college square dance class. I already do square dancing 2-3 nights a week, but this volunteer work is easy and doesn't require a lot of time or effort. (And I get to see many cute women in the class LOL!)

I also help out my co-op board by running our annual Board elections. I computerized what was a tedious process of counting votes (paper ballots) based on the number of shares each shareholder has as well as determining if a quorum is present. This has gotten me on good terms with the Board and Managing Agent so I have their ear when I have questions about other things, a good fringe benefit for my once-a-year work.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:35 PM   #20
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I did adult literacy tutoring for about 5 years but eventually got sick of it. I currently do an occasional presentation on "Outsmarting Financial Fraud" to seniors. I'm also going to be trained shortly to be a facilitator for people who are going to work with children in religious education programs. (This is fallout from the child abuse scandal in the Catholic church.) Both that and the financial fraud gig will be aperiodic so I need to find a new volunteer activity that will keep me busy 4 - 6 hours once or twice a week. One thing I will NOT be volunteering for is to knock on doors for political candidates.
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