Foster an Animal
Many organizations need volunteers to foster animals before they find their forever homes. Check with your local humane society, animal rescue (there’s one for just about every type of animal), or Leader Dogs for the Blind chapter near you. These animals often need to be instilled with basic training before they can be released for adoption, so be prepared to teach house-training, leash etiquette and other skills. Of course, Leader Dogs have specific training needs that’ll be prescribed by your local chapter. But, most importantly, you just need to teach them to trust and enjoy human company – and that’s the fun part.
You’ve seen them outside of elementary schools – the senior wearing the brightly colored vest and holding the handheld stop sign. This person’s job is to help the kids get across the street safely. Depending on where you live it may involve being outside on some cold mornings, but it’s also a chance to be a grandpa or grandma to a bunch of kids for just an hour or two before or after school. And, you don’t have to remember their birthdays or buy them presents (unless you want to)!
Metal Detector & Park Cleanup
Take the opportunity to pitch in and help keep neighborhood parks neat and tidy – but bring a metal detector. While you’re busy beautifying by picking up litter, you can hunt for valuable scraps of metal like jewelry and coins!
Start a Bicycle Co-Op
Are you adept at putting bicycles together? Many folks are. My mom used to laugh and say that my dad could take apart and reassemble a bicycle in the dark. How he learned to work on bikes in the dark was always a mystery to us kids. Search neighborhood garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets for used bikes that could use some tender loving care. Fix ‘em up and give the renewed cycles to some deserving or underprivileged kids. You can always charge a small fee to cover the cost of the bike and any new parts you install. It’ll bring them great joy, and it will make you feel good, too!
Be a Lunch Lady (or Gentleman)
Once a month or so, make brown paper bag lunches for your local senior center. It doesn’t cost much to make a big batch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, bananas, oranges or small pastries. Talk to the senior center employees to coordinate a time to bring the lunches. Then, sit with the folks, enjoy a sandwich, and chat with them. You just might learn something from their life experiences. (This example isn’t only fulfilling, but could also be filling.)
Do you have a retirement hobby that’s both productive and personally rewarding? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list.
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