It’s never too late to give back: Volunteering when you’re 60+
8 December, 2016
Here at help2read, we believe you’re never too old to volunteer. In fact, a large majority of our volunteer Reading Helpers are over 60 years old. Studies show that when you’re further along in years, volunteering can have a number of tremendous benefits.
Here are seven reasons why you should volunteer when you’re over 60:
Mature volunteers produce confident readers
According to recent research conducted by our sister organisation, Beanstalk, older volunteers are more confident readers than their 16-24 year old counterparts. Because of this, older adults, who are already confident in their reading ability, make for the perfect Reading Helpers, supporting children as they learn to read.
Helping others leaves you feeling great
Studies show that helping others, whether by giving one’s time or money, releases feel-good endorphins in the brain, known as “the helper’s high”. This chemical change not only leaves one feeling happy, it also boosts overall satisfaction and self-confidence.
Volunteering combats loneliness
Loneliness and social isolation can be a significant issue later on in life, especially if family and friends do not live close by. Our Volunteer Reading Helpers love the time that they get to spend with their learners every week, often developing warm and caring relationships not only with the learners that they work with, but also with other volunteers and school staff.
Giving back gives you a sense of purpose
Volunteering gives older adults an opportunity to have a positive influence on a child, and this has a profoundly positive impact on a volunteer’s sense of purpose and self-identity. Our volunteers aren’t just Reading Helpers, they’re mentors and role models too. Some children may not get the encouragement they need at home, or may not have positive role models outside of school. Weekly one-on-one reading sessions with caring adult volunteers provides often the first opportunity that learners have to develop positive and caring relationships with adults.
Volunteering keeps you young at heart
Our programme connects older volunteers with children who are in the early years of primary school. The learners are fun, lively and full of energy, which keeps more mature adults in touch with the youth of today, as well as on their toes.
Giving back leaves you feeling confident
At a time in one’s life when purpose and meaning is challenged due to circumstances associated with aging, such as the loss of a job or spouse, volunteering provides a great reminder to older adults that they can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Volunteering also builds confidence and self-esteem by providing older adults with an other-centred focus, taking their mind off of personal concerns and witnessing the power they retain to be a force for good in the lives of those less advantaged than they are.
Volunteering helps to combat depression
With all of the amazing benefits listed above, it’s not hard to see why volunteering is directly linked to increased satisfaction and quality of life. In fact, studies have shown a direct correlation between volunteering and a decrease in depression. With depression being a common challenge among older adults, volunteering could provide a powerful remedy.
Helping someone else has huge benefits to your health and overall happiness.
If you are 60+, it’s not too late to make a big difference. Volunteer as a Reading Helper and change a child’s life forever. Get in touch with us on +27 21 930 3669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registered Non-Profit 063-979 PBO 930027054 UK Charity Reg No. 1109567