Historically, parents were student volunteers. A parent would volunteer to serve on the PTA or would help out in the classroom. It is a way for parents to be more connected to their child’s school.
Now, the scope of school volunteers has expanded. As the population has aged and large numbers of baby boomers have retired, school systems are increasingly tapping into seniors as a resource for schools. Older volunteers bring a lifetime of experience and can add a lively dynamic to the classroom. Volunteering in a classroom can also benefit seniors in a multitude of ways including:
1. Preventing isolation and depression
Senior living can often be isolating, which can lead to depression. According a recent survey, six m
illion Americans 65 years and older have reported some form of depression. Retirement means a lack of routine and limited reasons for getting out of the house each day. Volunteering at a school gives you a way to connect with the community and limits your chances of feeling isolated. You are part of a dynamic institution.
2. Connecting with others
Children love connecting with older people. Older people can be easier to talk with than a child’s peers or parents, and volunteering at a school gives you the chance of connecting with a child. This can be especially true for under-privileged children, who often need solid adult role models. You can help students with their homework, or you might be asked to read a story to a classroom.
The senior will also be part of a school system and can interact and connect with teachers and staff at the school. It’s just another way that you can be connected with the larger school community.
3. Sharing experiences with a younger generation
As a senior, you have lived a long, valuable life, and you can impart some of that wisdom to a younger generation. Volunteering at a school is a great way to interact with children and give them life lessons. You can tell them about mistakes that you made or talk about some great adventure. You can pass on valuable information that will benefits young people.
4. Good for the body
Studies have shown that not only is volunteering in your senior years beneficial mentally, there is growing body of evidence that it can increase your health and prolong your life. Studies have shown a strong correlation with lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health when someone volunteers. In a Carnegie Mellon study, 200 hours of volunteering per year correlated to lower blood pressure.
Volunteering at a school also keeps you physically active. You have to keep up with young people, and that can keep your bones and joints in optimal health. You will remain physically fit if you volunteer at a school.
5. Improving self-esteem
Self-esteem is important for everyone but especially as a senior. Volunteering at a school is a great way to improve your self-esteem. You will get compliments from the children and the teachers. You will have a sense of purpose when you volunteer and will have meaningful interactions with other people.
6. Learning new skills
If you volunteer at a school, you might learn new skills. You might be asked to do something new and could gain a valuable insight. Volunteering can be an opportunity to be exposed to be new things and new ideas. You might find that you enjoy something and want to further pursue it. Schools are a place of learning, and you might find it to be a place that opens up a whole new world.