A Volunteer Perspective

It’s hard to believe that some people actually worry about what they’ll “do” in retirement! But they do. Enough to make sure they are on a couple of Boards, one of which is Turning Points Network (TPN), along with on-going volunteering for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and other worthy nonprofits.

My retirement calendar is now filled with meetings and plenty of work to do in between. It’s a rare weekday that there isn’t an agenda that involves volunteering. And I am thriving! Much of what I am doing now on a weekly basis is the same as the “work” of my nonprofit career -- writing, planning and coordinating annual fund appeals, assisting with fundraising events, creating newsletters and articles, radio spots and messaging.

But there’s something about the volunteer aspect that makes it less work and more satisfying.

I enjoyed my working life. But volunteering is different! Maybe because I want to be busy, now, not because I have to! But whatever it is, I wake up every morning with a purpose and the energy to complete a few more items on an ever-increasing to-do list and feeling “engaged.”

The opportunities to volunteer at Turning Points Network are many. Our work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking and trafficking, means that we need people to operate the 24-hour crisis and support line. On-call volunteers are trained thoroughly and then work from their own homes on evening and weekend shifts at their convenience. TPN provides a manual of resources to each on-call volunteer to help answer any question imaginable -- with a back-up supervisor always available, if the volunteer needs one. Some nights there are no calls at all. But then the opportunity comes along to help someone with a question or a crisis that can be life-changing, even life-saving!

We schedule volunteers to cover our reception desks in both Newport and Claremont to answer phones and take messages during staff meetings each month. And we are always looking for Board members with expertise in finance, fundraising, event planning, policy making and networking as well as compassion, encouragement and support.

TPN’s Changes Thrift Store in Claremont really appreciates volunteers who help sort and organize donations of clothing and household goods. In fact, all volunteers at TPN are valued as instrumental in keeping the agency running and helping to ensure that our services, such as our 16-bed emergency shelter, support groups, court advocacy and peer counseling, remain free to all in Sullivan County who need them, for as long as they need them. And, we always welcome volunteers for our Steppin’ Up to End Violence Walk and Fun Run each spring.

If you are about to retire, or working part time or even full time and have some of the above skills and a little time you’d like to share with a worthy organization, give some thought to volunteering for Turning Points Network! Perhaps you have a special skill or interest you would like to share with staff, Board or survivors. For more information, call 603.542.8338 weekdays 9-5. We guarantee you will become “engaged” in some very important work!

OUR TURN is a public service series made available by Turning Points Network in celebration of its 40th anniversary of providing violence-prevention education programs in our schools, services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and helping people move from the darkness of abuse toward the light of respect, healing and hope. For information contact 1.800.639.3130 or www.turningpointsnetwork.org or find us on Facebook.

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