Children, Social Networking, and Aging Gracefully… Through Volunteering

 

I was watching a group of young children play the other day. I noticed how young children naturally love to join other children in play. Everyone was talking, sharing, exploring, learning… each connecting to one another and having fun!

As we grow into adolescence, adulthood, middle-age, and so on, we continue to have an innate human need to share social ties that bind us together. How do you connect with others? What do you do? Do you share friends through Facebook, build business networks through LinkedIn, make new friends through a Meet-Up Group, or simply call (or email) friends to gather for coffee? The involvement for meaningful social interactions and connections makes us happy and fulfilled and gives us a sense of well-being.

I recently read a blog article in Civic Ventures about the many positive effects of connecting through volunteering for older adults. Research shows that volunteers not only feel better about themselves, but also stay healthy and may even live longer. Follow this link to find out the surprising (or not so surprising) benefits of volunteering: http://www.civicventures.org/publications/articles/the_volunteer_factor.cfm

As I respond to a variety of volunteer requests from young teenagers, to older teens, to adults who may be between careers, to other adults who have served well in their careers, I have noticed several factors that motivate them to offer their time and commitment to volunteering: the need to stay connected, make new friendships through social interactions, learn something new, offer their individual expertise, and be part of an organization to be proud of! A great “multi-vitamin” without the cost!

Here at the Museum, we have an eclectic group of dedicated volunteers with diverse backgrounds in marketing, teaching, fiber arts, design, and more! And once a month, former and present volunteers get together for lunch at the Gazebo Café located in the heart of the Museum’s building. Hear them enjoy the company of each other while socializing, staying connected, and having fun! Wouldn’t you say that’s aging gracefully (no matter how old you are!)?

Sandra Price
Coordinator of Volunteer and Visitor Services

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