Staying involved in the community helps people as they age. They are less likely to feel alone or develop depression. According to Help Guide International, volunteering has been proven to help seniors make new friends, lessen the symptoms of chronic diseases and gives seniors a sense of purpose.
Not only does volunteering have great personal benefits, but it’s also a great way to stay involved and help others in the community. Depending on your likes and dislikes, there are a wide variety of volunteering opportunities right here in Appleton.
Volunteering in your assisted living facility or nursing home
As assisted living facilities and nursing homes increase their focus on the quality of life, new volunteer opportunities open up to residents. Consider leading seniors in a friendly game of bingo, exercise, or a craft project. Are you musically inclined? Ask if you could play the piano during the day to help entertain residents and staff.
Don’t limit yourself to art, music, or games. Check with the facility director to see if you can start a gardening club or book club.
Outdoor volunteering opportunities
Local animal shelters are always willing to let volunteers walk and play with the animals. The Fox Valley Humane Association has hands on and behind the scenes opportunites to care for the animals or serve at events to raise awareness. You can find a list of openings here. https://www.foxvalleypets.org/volunteer/#adult-opportunities
If you want a hands-on experience, check with the local parks and nature preserves like High Cliff or Heckrodt Wetland Preserve.
The Friends of High Cliff offer many ways to get involved from splitting firewood and food concessions at fundraising events; you can also help answer questions on their social media channels or join a committee. Check out the website at http://www.friendsofhighcliff.org
Heckrodt has a wide variety of activities for volunteers. They are always looking for teachers or naturalists, people to set up exhibits, spring and fall clean up crews, individuals who like to weed, mowing, raking, painting and other grounds maintenance, support at special events, photography and much more. Visit their website for more information. https://www.heckrodtnaturecenter.org/volunteer
Habitat for Humanity has active builds going on in our community. If you can swing a hammer, paint or help transport supplies, you can bet involved. They have more information on their website at www.habitat.org/where-we-build
Volunteering for children’s events
The local libraries in the fox cities are always looking for volunteers to shelve books, greet patrons, drop off and pick up checked out books from homebound patrons, do landscaping and gardening projects and have opportunities to read to children.
Visit any of the local libraries online and search for volunteer opportunities. They will all have a list of items they’d like help with and requirements for volunteering. https://www.infosoup.info/libraries
Many hospitals and care facilities in the fox valley offer volunteer opportunities to read to children in the hospital. To find a local reading program, you can visit and enter your address to find the closest opportunity. http://www.reachoutandread.org/resource-center/find-a-program/
Volunteer for the county
Through Outagamie County, you can become an adult or youth mentor. Helping children in the system, become successful and independent adults.
There are also other opportunities to prepare or provide meals to homebound individuals.
You can check out these options at:
Volunteer Fox Cities is a local non-profit who partners with local agencies and organizations to help with volunteering needs in our area. They work currently have over 450 volunteers opportunities for all ages. Whether you want to work with children, older adults, outside or at events, there are opportunities to get involved. https://www.volunteerfoxcities.org
Volunteering from home
If you would like to get involved but don’t have the mobility you once used to, there are many other ways you can help others. Through the United Nations, you can volunteer online. You can teach or lead online courses in art, design, write, and edit for UN programs. They have 12,000 online volunteers a year and work in 187 countries around the world. Check out their programs at http://www.onlinevolunteering.org
Volunteering allows seniors of all ages and abilities to share their time and talents with others. Helping others brings a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment to both those volunteering and those served by the program.
You can feel good about helping others and making positive changes in someone’s life.
Consider volunteering with local or national groups today.