5 rewarding ways you can volunteer and reap the benefits of giving back to your community

May 22, 2024
Are you looking for a way to give back to your community, develop new skills and build meaningful friendships? Here are five ways to get involved in volunteering and make a difference. Source: Getty Images.

Volunteering can be a beneficial activity to involve yourself in through your retirement, giving you opportunities to meet new people and support causes that are close to your heart.

However, when people think of volunteering, they often think of sitting in a stall for fundraising events, but there’s so much more you can do, by putting your skills and passions to use to make a difference in your community.

No matter how big or small your contribution may seem, just remember that every act of kindness has the ability to create a lasting impact on the world around you

To help get you started and in recognition of National Volunteers Week (May 20 – May 26), Starts at 60 has gathered a list of some of the most rewarding ways you can volunteer in your community.

Charity shops

Volunteering at a charity store, such as your local op-shop, is a great way to make an impact, build skills and stay socially engaged in your community.

With charity shops, you know your contributions are making a difference – not only are the items you sell often going to those who need but the proceeds are used to help a range of charity initiatives. 

You’ll also be able to learn or tap into your skills in areas such as customer service, visual merchandising, inventory management, and teamwork. 

Tutoring and mentoring


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Volunteering as a tutor and mentor provides you with the opportunity to make a direct difference in someone’s life, positively shaping and influencing their life. 

Use your lifetime of knowledge and experience to help empower other people to overcome things like language barriers and educational challenges. This type of volunteering can give you a true sense of fulfilment as you’ll be able to witness firsthand the growth of the skill and confidence of the person you’re mentoring.

It’s also a great opportunity to build life-long friendships with your mentee, as you bond during your tutoring and mentoring sessions. 

Community Gardens 

If you’ve always loved gardening and have a bit of a green thumb, this one’s for you! Foster a sense of pride in your neighbourhood by volunteering your time to help out with your local community garden. 

Not only will you get to indulge in your passion for gardening and meet other fellow gardeners, you’ll also contribute local, fresh, and healthy food options to the local community. The hard work you’ve put in will help provide food to those who may not be able to otherwise afford fresh produce.

This volunteering opportunity comes with some great personal benefits as gardening is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being by allowing you to spend time outdoors being physically active and working with plants. 

And a great bonus to volunteering in a community garden is that you get to be responsible for the beautification of your community.

Animal shelters


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Turn your love for animals into a fulfilling passion by volunteering at your local animal shelter, where you get to play a crucial role in providing care, love, and attention to animals that have had a rough time in life.

By volunteering your time at animal rescue shelters, you can make a significant change in their lives and potentially help find them their “fur-ever” home. 

This volunteering opportunity can provide you with great fulfilment, and your love for animals helps to foster relationships with like-minded people along the way. 

Hosting meet-ups


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If you have a love for using your hospitality and generosity to host people, consider volunteering your time to organise monthly group meet-ups for those over 60. 

Starts at 60 Meet Ups are casual coffee or lunch meetups hosted by volunteers from the Starts at 60 Community. They are held monthly in the same location on the same day of each month and are a great way to connect with people you’ve met online in the real world.

Helping people to connect in your community can be such a rewarding experience. Seeing both new and familiar faces each month come together to catch up is such a special experience and a great way to make cherished friendships for yourself along the way.



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