You’re Retired, Now What? : Volunteering

Volunteer group holding one another's wrists to form a circle

By Eleanore Catarious

Most people long for retirement so they can spend their time as they wish. Many retirees discover, however, that the projects they planned do not take long and their hobbies are not enough to fill their days and they begin to ask themselves, “Now what?”

Volunteering provides individuals with a new sense of purpose, allows them to utilize and maintain their skill sets and help others in need. Volunteers are able to stay active, learn something new, be a part of a group or team and socialize with fellow community members while not having the strict schedule as they would in a full-time position.

There are many different ways to volunteer and many organizations in need. Explore your options. In addition, make sure to find your passion. Some volunteer activities may not be what you are looking for, and that is okay, just continue searching and you will find the activities or organization that touches your heart.

Volunteering changes lives every day. Everyone, including the organization, volunteers and those who receive from volunteers, are touched by the efforts and time dedicated to the cause. Volunteers are significant pillars in the community who make phenomenal differences in the lives of others. Volunteering reassures them that they are needed.

“They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but an entire lifetime to forget them.” – Author Unknown

At Advent Christian Village, 250 documented volunteers help throughout the year. Some of the current projects include volunteers at the Jo Kennon Library working on crocheting plastic to make mats for the homeless. These mats are lightweight and washable. Our volunteers are also distributing 60 homemade potholders a month to members in the community.

While some volunteers utilize their skills to make items, others feel useful and fulfilled by going to Good Samaritan Center and Dacier Manor to visit the residents. That is part of what makes volunteering beautiful – there are a vast number of ways to volunteer. It is not always about the products created, but about the time spent connecting with others.

Consider the following poem, “When you thought no one was looking:

We saw you hold the hand of an ill resident, and we knew that there’s nothing greater than love.

We saw you give up your Saturday to meet a need, and we realized helping others was a wonderful way to use our time.

We saw you rejoice in living and loving, and we knew that friendships should never be taken for granted.

We saw you make a meal and take it to a hurting resident, and we learned that there are many ways to show we care.

We saw you perform thankless behind-the-scenes work, and we learned the joy of giving anonymously.” – Author Unknown


Eleanore Catarious is the Volunteer Coordinator at Advent Christian Village. She is originally from Philadelphia. Eleanore and her husband Joe moved to ACV from Leesburg, Florida in 2005 and she accepted her current position in 2006. She is responsible for staffing 24 areas at ACV with volunteers. There are roughly 300 volunteers in the community throughout the year, covering both regularly scheduled jobs and as needed positions. Eleanore’s role is an important one, as volunteers are a vital part of the ACV community.

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