Since a young age, I have volunteered for many organizations such as church, sports clubs, walks and runs, youth and a variety of disease-related events. My volunteer role has varied over the years. In more recent times, I enjoy serving in leadership positions and volunteering with family and close friends. I appreciate opportunities when I can utilize my experience and skills, while making a difference and giving back to the community for a good cause. I also enjoy learning something new or developing a new skill while volunteering.
I have served on a board of directors, advisory board and held multiple leadership positions on committees and work groups.
My personal experience has also informed my work at AARP and how I support others that want to volunteer. With so many volunteer opportunities available, finding the right match is important. A great match is one that you find enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.
Having a thorough onboarding experience, feeling needed and valued and having fun while volunteering are also important elements of the volunteer experience. Volunteers often select causes they are passionate about or from word of mouth. Volunteering should not be a chore, but rather an activity you enjoy doing – and when it is convenient for you, on your own schedule.
AARP’s Create the Good (createthegood.aarp.org) offers many volunteer opportunities including in-person, virtual and hybrid positions for a variety of organizations. By registering, you can receive notifications when new volunteer opportunities are available in your area.
You can also get ideas, inspiration and information from the monthly newsletter, access to project guides and helpful articles. Create the Good connects you with ideas to help you get inspired in your community – service projects can be big or small.
You can also contact your local AARP office at (888) 687-2277 — many may need volunteers to help with community events, workshops, tax preparation, reading to elementary school students, office support, online programs and volunteer advocates to use their voices to help improve local, state and national laws for older adults and their families.
We celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 17-21. National Volunteer Week was first established in 1974 by Presidential Proclamation to recognize and celebrate the service of millions of Americans. To all who have volunteered or will volunteer — THANK YOU! Your service and contributions are much appreciated. Without volunteers, many organizations and community events are not possible.
JR Fujita is a senior state and community engagement specialist for AARP California and is based in Sacramento.