Whatever stage of life you may be in, it’s never too late to do good for the community. There are so many benefits of volunteering, not only for the community but for yourself as well.
Learn how one resident at The Admiral at the Lake donates his time and how you can get started volunteering.
Giving Back to the Community
Philip, a resident at The Admiral, moved to Chicago in 1963 and settled into the suburbs of Chicago with his wife and son. He was in the public relations field in Chicago for 50 years.
Volunteering came naturally to him and he was involved in different organizations over the years, dedicating his time and public relations experience by serving as a member of multiple boards.
What Philip likes most about volunteering is having the opportunity to help someone else and also promoting a great cause.
“I’ve always liked to have outside activities,” he said. “Other people who have helped me along the way in my career inspired me to volunteer.”
How to Find Volunteering Opportunities
Philip’s advice to those looking for volunteer opportunities is that “you have to believe in the cause or organization of which you are volunteering. If you believe in it, you inspire others to volunteer or spread the word about the cause.”
If you want to start volunteering, you first have to decide what your interests are and what you are passionate about. Volunteering for something you're not genuinely interested in will likely not be as fulfilling for you.
Once you have decided what you want to volunteer for, it’s all about researching and finding where you want to donate your time. There are many great organizations and causes that value the time put in by volunteers.
If you don’t know of an organization to start with, here are two internet sources that can help:
- VolunteerMatch.org: You can search by city to see a listing of organizations looking for volunteers.
- OneGoodDeedChicago.org: This is a Chicago specific volunteering resource. One Good Deed Chicago is a new Chicago City initiative to harness the power of local volunteers.
Volunteering at The Admiral
Philip’s volunteering adventure didn’t stop with retirement. He continues his volunteering efforts at The Admiral at the Lake.
Philip is involved in various committees at The Admiral, including serving as a co-chair for the Marketing Committee, a writer and photographer for The Admiral at the Lake’s newsletter The Anchor, and participating in the Movie Committee and The Chorus.
“We have so many opportunities at The Admiral as we have over 30 committees and groups that we can get involved in,” Philip explained. “This community is resident-run, so if there is something that interests you that we don’t already have a committee for, you can always request it.”
Many residents at The Admiral choose to donate their time and talents, he added.
“So many people at The Admiral at the Lake are volunteers within The Admiral or outside throughout the community and are an inspiration to others to volunteer as well,” Philip said.
Personal Benefits of Community Involvement
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency for service, volunteering and civic engagement, performed a study in 2015 to assess the impact of service on the Senior Corps Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs.
The study found that two-thirds of the Senior Corps volunteers experienced decreased feeling of isolation, and 67 percent said they had often lacked companionship prior to the program, but now had improved social connections.
The volunteers also reported that they experienced fewer symptoms of depression. Close friendships were developed through this program, which helped provide social stimulation.
Not only is volunteering good for your mental health, but also your physical well being. Some volunteer tasks, such as helping a local sports team or working in a garden for a local church, are physically helping you get some exercise.
Retirement at The Admiral at the Lake
Walking in the Chicago neighborhoods surrounding The Admiral at the Lake, Philip had known the area and The Admiral for some time before he moved in. After his wife suffered an illness, they decided it was time to downsize and move into a life plan community (also known as a continuing care retirement community or CCRC). After touring The Admiral and another CCRC, Philip and his wife chose The Admiral at the Lake.
Since moving to The Admiral in 2013 and volunteering his time with the committees, Philip has developed meaningful relationships with other residents and staff.
“I have close relationships with our marketing team at The Admiral,” he said. “They are approachable, keep an open mind and want to help.”