As people age, retire, or move to a different city for health (which is often the case for the people we care for under EEOCIPA and RECA), they often develop a sense of longing to be part of something bigger than themselves. They still want to be valued in society and want to feel like they are contributing to their community and the people around them. While the elderly population across the States often feels like there is little that they can do to stay active and involved, there is actually a lot that the elderly can still do despite health challenges or where they live. This article explores how the elderly can get involved and volunteer in local schools, and how to do this even when the challenges of old age may inhibit them.
Schools Need Volunteers
The demand for teachers is higher than it has ever been before. It is not uncommon that a single teacher is tasked to manage 30 kids at a given time, each with their own specific learning needs and individual backgrounds and challenges. There is simply not enough manpower for teachers to ensure they are helping all of their students learn the material they need, making volunteers not only helpful, but almost essential. The problem is that most people who would be willing to volunteer in schools are often at work during the day, and they are not able to afford the time to enter the classroom during the time of day that teachers need it the most.
Retired or elderly people are, therefore, great candidates to help in schools because they generally have more time during the day. Their expertise in different fields is also appreciated, and teachers are able to assign more individual focus to certain, struggling students if a volunteer is present.
How to Find School Volunteer Opportunities
From large to small towns, there are always opportunities you can find to volunteer and help in schools. Some are year-round, others are seasonal, and others still may only be a few hours each week. The following a list of some of the different volunteer opportunities you may be able to do in your local schools:
- Classroom helper
- Computer lab helper
- Assist with special needs students
- Help organize or chaperone student and school activities/drives
- Tutoring individual students
- Lunchroom or playground monitor
- Help administration with their needs
- Attend school board meetings or PTA meetings
- Work with music or art students
- Participate as a judge in the local science fair
- Read books to students during story times
How to Do It With Limitations
Even mobility-limited or other challenged senior citizens can participate in a variety of activities in school volunteer programs. For those elderly people who would like to volunteer but are in some way restricted, there are still activities and service you can render which are more fitting than others. It may be easier to come to a children’s class once a week to read a story than volunteer in a high school math class to tutor students in calculus. If you are concerned about your restrictions but still want to volunteer, consider calling up the school administration and explaining your desire to help. They will likely be very accommodating and will appreciate whatever help you are able to give them.
Our Dedication to Elderly Health
Our experience helping rehabilitate the elderly population and become active in their communities again, such as through school volunteer efforts, stems from our work and service as free home health care providers for EEOICPA and RECA beneficiaries. If there is anything that we know it is that service, as someone afflicted with chronic disease in their old age, is the best way to break through and find purpose. Your retirement and old age doesn’t have to be the end. It can be the beginning of helping young minds and assisting your community with efforts they desperately need.