Shawnee Senior Happenings: Consider volunteering

Amy Riggins
Recreation Facility Supervisor

Greetings, Shawnee! Autumn has officially started, and I hope we get more fall-like weather soon! October starts next week, so be sure to get your copy of our new October activity calendar!

We have lots of classes, programs, and special events coming up in October at the Senior Recreation Center at 401 N. Bell. But to finish out September, be sure to join us for our latest technology class. Next week’s topic is how to use your phone to create appointments and reminders to help you stay organized. You can attend this topic on Monday, Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. or on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m. We will also host a Funeral Financial Planning seminar on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. For more information or to register for any of these free programs for ages 55+, please call 405-878-1528.

Here at the Senior Rec Center, we have many opportunities to volunteer. Have you ever thought about volunteering? Perhaps you currently serve as a volunteer in our community. Maybe you’ve pondered doing this but are not sure if it is worth your time and effort. Retirement can present opportunities for you to do things you might not have considered in earlier years. Seniors possess valuable skills and knowledge to share in a volunteer capacity, and there are several potential benefits.

Let me share some of the many benefits of volunteering. To begin with it helps provide a sense of purpose. As humans we tend to want to act, and we enjoy relationships. If we are no longer working, we may feel we have lost a sense of who we are. Through being a volunteer, we can see how our actions help others and benefit society. Staying connected with an outside organization can also broaden our world view.

Volunteers can help bridge the generation gap. We all have something to share and learn from others. Seniors who serve as volunteers can work with other seniors or even younger generations to pass on knowledge and tips. We can also glean insights into recent developments and technological advancements if we spend time with individuals younger than ourselves.

Being a volunteer helps a person stay active and healthy. By participating in regular volunteer activities, individuals find more routine and movement. Some volunteers say it’s easier to stay active if they are involved in being around others and offering assistance. Increasing our activity levels and social involvement are important to help promote longevity.

Volunteering is also beneficial for mental health. Just getting out of the house can provide a boost in one’s mood. By being active as a volunteer we can increase our brain activity, which stimulates memory and use of language. Social activities help our cognitive health and positive outlook.

Being a volunteer can keep us active in our community, church, or other organization. This helps prevent isolation or depression. Studies have shown that participation in volunteer activities contributes to increased social wellness and higher life satisfaction scores.

Volunteering can be fun! Serving as a volunteer brings you into social situations which might provide fresh insights and new friends. You could have opportunities to explore your creative side and dabble in new adventures. Volunteering can be a journey to new horizons, as you never know what you might find!

There are many opportunities for senior volunteers in our local community. For more information about becoming a volunteer, you can contact the Volunteers Impacting People (VIP) program at 405-275-7910. The VIP program helps place volunteers in many locations around the area.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer at the Senior Recreation Center, you can contact me directly at 405-878-1528 or via email at amy.riggins@shawneeok.org

Thank you for reading about the benefits of volunteering. For more information about current senior happenings, be sure to tune into the “Mike in the Morning” show on Wednesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. on KGFF Radio, found at located at 100.9 FM or 1450 AM.

Take care, stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon at the center!

Amy Riggins is recreation facility supervisor for the City of Shawnee, managing a variety of facilities, events and programs.