Calling all seniors to volunteer

Do not go gentle into that good night

Old age should burn and rave at close of  day

Rage, rage against the dying of the light Dylan Thomas

It seems that baby boomers are beginning to heed the call of this young man who died in 1953 at the age of 39.

Actually, I am finding that those seniors born in the thirties and sometimes even the twenties have been doing a good job of staffing those organizations that couldn’t exist without them.

On Monday I attended the first volunteer auxillary meeting at the hospital where I decided to volunteer about seven weeks ago. If you want to feel like a young kid, that’s the place to go. There were approximately 25 volunteers in the room. I would estimate that maybe four were younger than I. The rest of the volunteers range from being old enough to be a much older sister to being someone old enough to be my mother…and not a teenage bride either.

As in many hospitals, once you have volunteered x number of hours, the volunteer gets a pin. For every 100 hours after that, she/he gets a bar to attach. After so many of these, the bars come less frequently. I guess that’s so they don’t trip on the bars while doing their jobs. Some of these women had at least 12 to 15 bars.

Some of them are now in wheelchairs. Some walk with canes, but they keep on coming to do their jobs, putting in 20 or more hours a week.

The hospital built a new part of the hospital which has only been opened about a year. I was very pleasantly surprised. I wouldn’t mind being a patient in this new section.
The volunteer auxiliary  five years ago pledged to raise $1,000,000 to the new pavilion for the purchase of whatever it was decided the individual floors needed. They are in the process of preparing to pay the last $100,000. I am impressed. To me that is a mighty big promise to fill and to do it in five years seems outstanding.

The volunteers raise the money through sales in the gift shop and hosting vending sales. That’s a lot of gifts in five years.

Baby boomers are being targeted as they begin retiring in order to swell the ranks of volunteers in America. In 2005, 33.2 % of baby boomers volunteered for formal organizations. The majority of baby boomers aren’t even set to retire for at least another year when they begin reaching 65.

I had hoped, when I retired, to get a part time job. Because I can’t speak Spanish, my computer skills are only average, I was an elementary school teacher, and I’m way over 50, I was unable to find a job. I didn’t even look the first two years. I finally accepted the fact that now was not a good time to look for a job.

I only volunteer two mornings a week, which is much less than some of these senior volunteers. They are there trucking away a minimum of 20 hours a week. I admire them. I have some new role models in my life. These volunteers certainly have earned the respect they deserve as they live fully the rest of their lives. None of them show any inclination to sit in a rocking chair and wait out the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, in the US, seniors do not receive the respect to which age and wisdom entitle them. As more of the baby boomers retire and give of their time and talents, maybe they will earn the respect that so many older folk deserve. The hospital auxiliary certainly has mine.

Namaste. Attic Annie


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