Tonawanda News — A headline in this newspaper several days ago involved “Sought-After 60s.” the article was not about those individuals wistfully lusting for the days when Wilson Pickett was on the radio and the Rolling Stones were not a nostalgia act (and you know who you are). It concerned volunteer opportunities for those on the young side of old and the difficulties local non-profit organizations have in finding and recruiting them.
Personally, I’m a volunteering fool, largely because many organizations’ missions, and mine, intersect nicely. Anyone’s retirement and/or senior citizen goals are intensely personal matters (the plus-60 crowd is neither all broke and lonely, nor is it all walking on the beach and throwing sticks at dogs, as television might lead you to believe. Keep in mind television’s goal is to lead you to believe). I seek a lot of learning experiences and interesting things I never got an opportunity to try, and if that describes you, let non-profits be your gateway.
It’s been said that, if you’re busier than ever in retirement, you’re handling it correctly, and therein lies the problem. The target audience for helper-outers is busy with projects, part-time employment, golf, travel, grandchildren, any number of matters. Valid and viable organizations that keep our quality of life so high despite government paralysis, bad sports teams or children leaving town for other opportunities are in need of those who can maintain the standards to which we have become accustomed.
What is not often mentioned is the growth, perhaps the surfeit, of occasions for involvement. Particularly in Buffalo (distinct from the suburbs) an organizational meeting for one thing or another tends to be only a few cellphone strokes away. Tonight, several dozen people are meeting somewhere, a store backroom or a bar, to fight for or against something. Trade unions are declining in power, so I hear, but the grassroots business is booming.