Voluntary RE:action

sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation

What’s Your Encore?

Mary T. McLoughlin, Encore Innovation Fellow

A bit stumped on how to start your own Encore? Here are some tips that will help.

Tip #1:  Share What You Know

You have a lifetime of experiences with work, your family and friends and your community. What lessons have you learned and how might you share them? Take stock and consider the value they could bring to others.

• List the skills have you acquired through your professional and personal life.
• Which of these do you want to focus on?
• Would you be willing to share your skills in a way that truly benefits others and the community?

Tip #2: What Would You Like to Do Over?

You probably have some regrets in life (we all do); nothing to dwell on but some lessons you’ve learned and will take into account as you ponder your Encore:

• What career path might you have taken if you had followed your heart?
• Are there important relationships to be rekindled or mended?
• Have you spent too much time in one aspect of life and not enough in another?
• What can you still claim that you thought was forever lost?

Tip # 3:  Avoid Old Patterns; Embrace New Choices

Can you really change in your “second act”? The authors of Life Reimagined: Discovering New Possibilities lay out six “to do’s” to assist you. They are:

• Reflect–take some time to ponder your second act
• Connect–ask friends and family for insights and advice
• Explore–test some of your ideas, be curious
• Choose–narrow your choices and dig deeper
• Repack–decide what you need to move forward and what to leave behind
• Act–take that next step

Learning about these and putting them to work truly can release you from old patterns and allow you to enjoy success in your new choices.

If you’re interested in learning more, consider enrolling in the “Life Reimagined Check-ups” AARP offers along with Encore.

Be sure to visit our website at GRFoundation.org for events, Encore stories and blogs. And check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Local Volunteer Opportunities

Your opportunity awaits. Pick a role and react voluntarily.

 The Driver

Deliver smiles, one meal at a time with Meals on Wheels. Brighten a senior’s day with a friendly visit and a nutritious, prepared meal.
Take Action: Contact Riana Pearce, volunteer administrator at (616) 459-3111 ext. 21 or by email at rpearce@mowwm.org.

The Wreath Bearer

On December 17, you can help Wreaths Across America honor our service men, women and their families. Every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave is encouraged to say that veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive.
Take Action: Enter your zip code to find a location you would like to help at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/get-involved (click the volunteer box). You can also add your local cemetery if it’s not already listed.

The Snack-Packers

Help combat childhood hunger by packing Sack Suppers at Kids’ Food Basket. Volunteers are needed daily to make sandwiches, prepare fruits and veggies into serving sizes and bag trail mix for each individual bag. This is a fun and simple way to help provide children in need with a nutritious meal.
Take Action: To schedule a group of helpers, contact Kay at (616) 235- 4532.

The Sample Server

Feeding American West Michigan is in need of volunteers to work the School and Senior Mobile Pantries to fight the risk of hunger in the community. Volunteers assist in preparing and giving away recipe samples, an important way to educate clients about using the food available at these distributions.
Take Action: Complete the volunteer application at www.feedwm.org/volunteer or contact the main warehouse at (616) 784- 3250.

The Personal Shopper

Help visitors choose healthy meal options at The Pantry in Grand Rapids. Volunteers steer clients in the right direction using recommended dietary suggestions as well as help them gather enough supplies to feed the whole family.
Take Action: Contact Yolanda, the pantry manager, at (616) 455-9411 or by email at yolifuentes@thepantry.com.

The Event Planner

SECOM Resource Center is looking for assistance in planning the annual Help and Hope Lunch. You may send invitations, make follow-up phone calls to invitees, host or co-host a table for the Help and Hope Lunch event and identify sponsor prospects and table host prospects.
Take Action: Register to be a volunteer at (616) 452- 7684 or by email at director@secomresourcecenter.org.

The Life Skills Coach

Assist Mel Trotter Ministries advocates by providing guests with support and guidance in their journeys of life transformation. Volunteers are needed to tutor or mentor visitors, as well as offer education in hygiene and personal health.
Take Action: Complete the volunteer application at www.meltrotter.org/volunteer, or call (616) 454-8249.

The Disher Outer 

Help prepare and serve hot lunch meals to those in need at God’s Kitchen in Grand Rapids. Dedicated weekly or monthly volunteers are needed during the week from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.
Take Action: Contact the God’s Kitchen Food Pantry at gk@ccwestmi.org.




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