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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Making Choices as a Volunteer

The other day Jim was pondering about how he might volunteer his time when he retires.  He will continue to do his research and will spend plenty of hours in the office he will keep at Notre Dame.  He  agreed to teach a seminar in the spring.  But he was thinking about what else would be good to do with more time available.

Since retiring, I have volunteered as a docent at the South Bend Museum of Art and the Snite Museum at Notre Dame and as a tutor at Hope Ministries (a homeless shelter.)  I volunteered as an organist for years before retiring so that doesn't really count in these musings about choices.

5th Graders at SBMA
I have fulfilled my contract with the museums at this point.  Their curators trained the new docents over a four month period and in turn, we actually signed a contract committing to two years of leading tours with a minimum of ten tours each year.  My goal of learning more about our local museums and about art in general has been met.   Do I want to commit to another year?  I don't know.  I don't really look forward to the continued bi-weekly training sessions and I haven't looked forward to taking groups of 5th graders through their Museum Morning tours or 3rd graders through their Jump Start sculpture tours.   However, when the tours are finished, I have satisfaction knowing that the kids were very responsive and the sessions went well.

Tutoring at Hope Ministries is like an extension of my working years but it so much easier with just one student at a time and no paperwork or meetings.   I am using my skills and experience and feel comfortable with the students who have been very responsive and appreciative.   So I will continue to work with the students I have now and when they move on, agree to others.

Playing the organ for church services is a challenge for me.  I enjoy preparing the music but I often lie awake on Saturday night  knowing how much energy and concentration it takes to lead worship. I don't actually worship much on those Sundays when I play.   I know that it is important to lead congregational singing well.  So for now, I need to continue to serve in this way.  There are no other musicians standing in line to take my place!

So if I give up the docent work, what else should I do?  What would be good activities for Jim to do?   It would be nice to do something together.  At one point, we were both "readers" at a local elementary school.  That is an option.  Maybe delivering "Meals on Wheels" or library books to the Homebound.  We don't have handyman skills or much desire to travel for service projects.

Please suggest any ideas in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I think doing something with the elderly would be great as well as reading and spending time with smaller children. So many in both these age groups need kindness and compassion in their lives.