Five great ways for baby boomers to volunteer

Plenty of baby boomers have loads of time on their hands. They’re still young, still active, but just not so involved any more in a traditional job. That’s where Discover Corps comes in; it provides what it calls “volunteer vacations” in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Susan Shain of San Diego writes for Discover Corps and has given BoomerCafé Five Awesome Ways for Baby Boomers to Volunteer.

Many baby boomers want to enrich their lives by volunteering — but often, it’s difficult to figure out where to do it.

So here’s a question: with so many options, how do you know which volunteering opportunity is right for you?


If you want to give back, but aren’t sure how to get started, here are five awesome places for baby boomers to volunteer.


Whether you’re less mobile or just a homebody, your home is a great place to start volunteering.

Though many opportunities involve using a computer, you still have options if you’re not tech savvy — like knitting baby blankets for underserved kids. To find thousands of remote volunteering opportunities, visit VolunteerMatch and click on “virtual listings.”


If you’re lucky enough to live close to grandchildren, why not try volunteering at their school? Public schools have taken massive budget cuts in recent years and are always looking for family members to help out in the classroom or on field trips. Best of all? You’ll get to spend time with your favorite kids in the world!



What causes call to you? Perhaps you have a friend battling with breast cancer, or a nephew serving in the military. Figure out what matters to you, and look for volunteer opportunities with relevant organizations. Talk to your friends about who’s helped them, do a Google search, or look on VolunteerMatch.



If you want to get out of your hometown to volunteer, think about which places need your help the most; often, it’s areas that have been affected by a disaster. For example, you might be surprised to learn that after all these years, New Orleans is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina — and welcomes volunteers to help in the rebuilding process.


Writer Susan Shain

Writer Susan Shain

We’re betting traveling abroad is also on your to-do list, so why not combine travel AND volunteering by taking a volunteer journey to a foreign country? If you’re on a budget (and are truly adventurous), you can plan the trip on your own using sites like Grassroots Volunteering and Volunteers for Peace. If you’d rather have someone else take care of the hard stuff — leaving you to focus on giving back and recharging your spirit — there are several organizations that can help you plan the perfect volunteer vacation.

Where’s your favorite place to volunteer?


  1. Great article. I see too many people who think “retirement” is the time to focus on indulging themselves. It is a time where it’s all about “me.” I get it. But I also get that it’s a wonderful time in life where we can give back to our community and world. We have wisdom and skills which could make the difference in the lives of others.

  2. Don’t forget about WWOOFing – that stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms or something similar. Volunteers to do a few hours work each day – usually around 4 – in return for bed and board. A great way to meet the locals and also if you happen to be interested in organics. I did quite a lot of Wwoofing during a mid-life gap year in 2007-2008, mostly in Italy but also in Spain and England. I was hesitant at first because I thought I was too old (in my late ’40s at the time) but it was rarely an issue. Check out

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