Retire-To Volunteering

Host Ed Zinkiewicz uncovers engaging—sometimes surprising, but never dull— volunteer opportunities available to retirees. Interviewing volunteers and volunteer coordinators each week, Ed highlights the meaningful contributions volunteers make and also the rewards volunteers receive. Imagining a retirement that matters starts here. Sign up for Ed's free, weekly newsletter at and get listings of coming episodes.
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Mar 21, 2018

060 Barbara Bruce—Humane Society

Providing Second Chances for Animals and Other Cast-offs

The dog was horribly unlucky—a hit-and-run driver sped away leaving him with a crushed leg! The dog was also wonderfully lucky—the life-threatening collision occurred in sight of an employee at the Second Chance Store. He scooped up the injured animal, took him to the vet (his leg had to be amputated), and then brought him back to the store, his new home. Named Tap-Tap, the lucky dog is now the store's mascot and loved by volunteers and customers alike.

Barbara Bruce, a snowbird from New York State, volunteers several months a year at the Second Chance Store in Amelia Island, Florida. Proceeds from the donated items sold at the retail store go directly to support the Nassau County Humane Society in its mission—"dedicated to the humane treatment of all animals, to alleviate their suffering and neglect, to support the human-animal bond, and to foster an environment in which people respect all living creatures!"

Supporting the animal shelter began with volunteers putting on yard sales (aptly renamed, "Flea and Tick Sales”), which proved so popular and effective that the Humane Society was eventually able to acquire a permanent sales venue. With the new store has come greater recognition of the purpose of the organization and more customers making purchases in support of its work. And, yes, lots of them come to see Tap-Tap!

Barbara, an animal lover who also has had retail experience, has chosen to volunteer in the store. But she points out that other people find their volunteer joy working directly with the animals in many different capacities, including socializing puppies and kittens, walking and grooming dogs, handling paperwork for adoptions, and even making sure the kennels are clean.

She also reminds us that animals in shelters all over the United States need loving care and that volunteering on their behalf can take many different forms and skills, all within a flexible time commitment. So, if you feel a tap-tap on your shoulder, it might just be a special critter, a special place inviting you to volunteer.

Simply type "humane society near me" into your browser or visit for more information.

Mar 14, 2018

059 Linda Stalters—Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)

Changing Perceptions—Key to Hope, Treatment, and Opportunity

"We can't be everywhere, yet people with the diagnosis are everywhere!" Nearly nine million Americans suffer from schizophrenia and other illnesses involving psychoses. Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) is the "we" working to make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed and their families.

Linda Stalters, a retired Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Psychotherapist, began the organization in 2008. SARDAA promotes hope, treatment, and recovery through support programs, education, collaboration, and advocacy. Their vision is that every person living with a schizophrenia or related brain disorder receives respect, appropriate treatment, and an opportunity to live a meaningful and satisfying life in a compassionate community free of discrimination.

A key to bringing about that vision is changing perceptions on several levels:

  • Helping policy makers understand the condition as a brain disease rather than as a mental illness. The distinction has a huge impact on accessibility to treatment, which can enable persons with the disease to have productive life.
  • Helping society overcome fear and move toward seeing persons with the disease as people who deserve treatment and respect rather than punishment. Currently, many affected live in prisons or on the streets, which is a significant cost to society.
  • Helping family members know how to better relate to the one with the disease and how to advocate for their loved one.
  • Helping those who suffer from the disease understand and value themselves and be supported.

Volunteers assist in reaching these goals. They do so as speakers and educators, as videographers and artists, as advocates to state and national policy-making bodies, as organizers of new groups and as mentors to the leaders of support groups (which are led by persons who have the disease and who are themselves volunteers). Volunteers are also needed for simply saying "thank you" through notes or phone calls to supporters of the organization's work. In turn, the organization's small staff support the volunteers with training, materials, and a voice in this important work.

Linda says, "Whenever I think I might quit or when people ask, 'When are you going to retire for real?', I remember that people who live with the disease can't ever retire. I hear thanks for what we do. Those affected say, 'I am so grateful for this organization because it saved my life!'—and I can't quit!" For more information, visit or

Mar 7, 2018

058 Liz Martin—General Federation of Women’s Clubs

Changing the Power of One to Power to the Nth Degree

Liz Martin believes in the power of people—especially women—joining together to make a difference in their community. But she’s also discovered how one person, using her specific skills, can make that power even greater.

When Liz joined the Brentwood/Franklin Woman's Service Club she found much more than she expected. As a part of the international General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), her local club is one of the nearly 3,000 (combined membership of 80,000) working independently and together on significant issues, including supporting the arts, preserving natural resources, advancing education, promoting healthy lifestyles, encouraging civic involvement, and working toward world peace and understanding.

The mission and history of GFWC attracted her to the club. She has stayed for more than a decade because of the benefits: She has met great people she might not have otherwise, expanded her knowledge of her community and of important national and international issues, and participated in specific projects locally and beyond.

As club members got to know Liz, she was asked to be the treasurer. No problem! She definitely had the skills. Liz’s career was as a financial planner. Taking on the job was a way for this one person to give back. But she quickly discovered a new challenge: bringing their financial systems into the 21st century in terms of bookkeeping, computerization, and taking advantage of investment opportunities that would grow the organization’s dollars and consequently its potential for more good. Actually, that was the easy part, according to Liz. The bigger challenge was to change the thinking of the group from “we don’t want to lose any money” to “we can safely grow the money.” Fortunately, Liz’s years of helping individuals and families make that same transition to success have paid off, enabling the club members to greatly increase their impact on projects and issues they are passionate about.

One person—investing heart, time, energy, and skill—joining with others of like mind and commitment changes the power of one to power to the nth degree!

For more about the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, visit To learn more about the Brentwood/Franklin Woman's Service Club, go to

Feb 28, 2018

057 Fern Albertson—The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum—Feeding Body and Soul

Do you have an interest in plants, gardening, bees, butterflies, children, sharing your knowledge, working with like-minded people, having a meaningful and rewarding volunteer opportunity? Check any of the above, and this interview is for you! Fern Albertson volunteers with The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where she has found all of those interests fulfilled and her soul fed.

Have you eaten a Honey Crisp apple lately? Or perhaps you’ve tried the new First Kiss apple. Both of these, along with 28 others, were developed through the research at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The history of today’s 1200-acre premier facility had its beginnings in the 1800’s with government assistance and insistence to develop apples hearty enough to grow despite the Minnesota winters. The push was to attract settlers to the area by providing a viable economic opportunity. Today’s Arboretum now attracts 500,000 visitors each year! Thirty-five thousand of those come specifically to the Learning Center, where Fern volunteers.

As a volunteer, she works most often with school children and children coming in the summer through the Y or Parks and Recreation day camps. Working with a curriculum that also meets state education standards, Fern, along with other volunteers has been teaching the children about bees and butterflies, as they observe the resident pollinators at work in the gardens of the Arboretum. She also takes children “shopping” at the Green Grocer. If their grocery list includes sugar or chocolate, for example, the young shoppers have to find the plant sources (sugar cane and cocoa plant) growing there. The lists are varied, but the lesson is pointed: Our food comes largely from plants! The Arboretum’s educational programs change regularly, inviting return visits and keeping the volunteers engaged as they too continue to learn.

Fern is one of 900 volunteers the Arboretum relies on. Some, like Fern, lead programs or give tours; others help maintain the gardens or drive the trams. Several assist the researchers—like the ones who developed Honey Crisp and gave us our First Kiss!

Arboretums and botanical gardens are scattered all across the nation. Click Here for a list of facilities around the country. You might find a garden or arboretum in your local area where you can check volunteer opportunities.



Feb 21, 2018

056 Marci McAdams—Special Olympics

Special Olympics—Smiles for Everyone

“I get to see their smiling faces—that’s my reward!” Marci McAdams enthusiastically declares with a big smile on her own face. One of her volunteer jobs for Special Olympics in Florida is to hand out the rewards to the participants. Those smiles keep her coming back and taking on more as a volunteer. She handles much of the administrative work that keeps the program running smoothly; and she also trains new coaches, who are also volunteers. When she runs a training session, she invites at least one of the special athletes to help her by showing the potential coaches the possibilities.

Special Olympics is so much more than “a competition here and there.” In the early 1960s Eunice Kennedy Shriver, moved by the lack of inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities (ID) in even basic opportunities for play, set up a summer camp in her own backyard to give them a chance to participate in physical activities, including sports. She set out to change society’s view of persons with ID. Now more than five million special athletes from ages eight through older adults in 172 countries participate year-round in Special Olympics trainings and events in county, state, area, and international levels in more than 30 different sports. Children, age two to seven, can begin developing skills through Special Olympics Young Athletes program.

Athletes benefit from the training and competitions as they develop physical fitness, skills, and friendships. They gain courage and self-confidence and experience joy. Society benefits from focusing on the abilities rather than the disabilities of persons with ID and discovering their gifts. Promoting understanding and social inclusion, Special Olympics is making a change for the better for everyone.

Volunteers make it all possible. Handing out awards, doing administrative tasks, training new volunteers, including coaches—all of which Marci does—are just a few of the opportunities available to volunteers. Encouraging athletes, setting up and tearing down for events, coaching for the various sports, recruiting other volunteers, and photographing events are a few more of the possibilities. Check the website for your state to find a specific place where your interests intersect with the needs:




Feb 14, 2018

055 Barbara Winkler—Quilts of Valor

Touched by War, Receiving Comfort and Healing

Barbara Winkler is not alone in her desire to honor, thank, and comfort men and women who have experienced the horrors of war on behalf of our nation. Nationwide, in 47 states and the District of Columbia, are multiple small chapters of quilters creating beautiful and practical Quilts of Valor and presenting them to veterans and active service members. In Barbara’s chapter alone, the group has made 4,375 since Barbara created her first quilt! Last year they made 651!

Many chapters gather and benefit from the social aspect of creating a quilt, as well as from the joy of finding a purpose they find meaningful and appreciated by the recipients and their families. However, most chapters also have members who work at home. In Barbara’s Southern California chapter, the oldest member is 92, working at home and providing a one quilt-top each week for the other stitchers in the group to complete. Barbara’s group also partners with teens in local high schools to make the quilts. The students earn service-learning credits, find mentors and friends among the skilled quilters, and experience pride in their skill and creativity, as well as humility in knowing the stories of the ones who will receive their quilts.

Volunteers do not need to know how to quilt. Quilting is a group effort. There is a specific task for everyone, including designing, cutting the fabric, hand sewing, machine stitching, washing, ironing, presenting, and more. Anyone can start wherever comfortable and learn more from the others—and have a good time doing so!

To see the variety of beautiful quilts Barbara’s group has made and given, go to To find a Quilts of Valor chapter near you, visit That site will also guide you in creating a new chapter, if need be.


Facebook: So-Cal-Quilts-of-Valor

Feb 7, 2018

054 Daisy Jabas—Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance—Providing Hope and How-To

Daisy Jabas, Registered Nurse, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, and State Director for Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Tennessee, surprises people—not with her credentials but with a statistic: Mental illness is more prevalent than cancer, lung disease, and heart disease combined!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provides through their support groups a safe environment for individuals and for their families to share their stories and learn skills from the lived experience of others, as well as from medical professionals. Those who suffer discover they are not alone, there is hope, and life can and will get better.

Daisy also surprises people when she tells audiences that all of the people working in this Tennessee division of the Alliance are volunteers, including Daisy. The range of opportunities is wide, from helping get literature out about the program, speaking to groups, serving at events, calling back inquirers, transporting persons to support groups, working in the office, maintaining the website, to facilitating the support groups. Volunteers can choose short-term or long-term service options to fit their own interests, knowing that all contribute to greater well-being for those who suffer.

For more information visit


Jan 31, 2018

68 Hours of Hunger—What Too Many School Children Face Each Weekend

Ending childhood hunger in America one school at a time

What kind of person would you be if week after week you were without adequate food for 68 hours? Executive director and founder of the non-profit End 68 Hours of Hunger, Claire Bloom tells us how you can join the fight to end the hunger too many school children face for the 68 hours between the free lunch on Friday and breakfast on Monday at school. Students are provided with 3 dinners, 2 breakfasts, and 2 lunches each weekend. Listen to how her 1700 volunteers in 42 local chapters all over the United States help 3000 students every week.

With nearly 16 million food-insecure children in America today, the unmet need is still huge. Imagine how well you would perform on Monday if youve not had anything to eat since Friday lunch! With this program in place, teachers report students come to school ready to learn and the disruptive behaviors of Friday due to food insecurity vanish. This program makes a difference in the potential success of each child fed.

You can be a part of this exciting program by joining a chapter in its mission or starting one of your own. Claires national office provides complete training so you and your friends can reach out to help students near you. Others have done this 41 times! The smallest chapter feed 3 students each week; the largest feeds 300.

Jan 24, 2018

052 Crys Zinkiewicz–Hershey, Here! at Saddle Up!

From Rider to Writer—With a Little “Help”

Passionate about horses, Crys Zinkiewicz found a great place to volunteer and then she discovered Hershey! Hershey is a go-to horse at Saddle Up!, a therapeutic riding center for children with disabilities. Known for his versatility and willingness, Hershey is also famous for his funny “smile” after a peppermint treat. Now he’s even more famous as an ambassador for Saddle Up!, thanks to Crys.

The two of them are Pony Pals, but they’ve also “collaborated” to write a book about Saddle Up! Hershey tells his perspective on his life at Saddle Up! and its various programs. Crys comes along to “fill in the details.” The proceeds from the resulting 148-page book go to support the organization, but even more importantly the book and Crys’s speaking opportunities raise awareness of the “magic” of horses in programs across the country like Saddle Up!

With a background as an editor in a publishing company, Crys volunteered her professional skills to meet the challenge. She also pulled together a team of people (designer, photographers, marketers, web designer, business manager, and even musicians) who donated their time, talent, and professional experience to create the book.

For more about Saddle Up! go to Be sure to watch the video on the home page. You’ll meet Hershey and Crys, and you’ll learn more about this amazing organization. 

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Jan 17, 2018

051 Julie Kramer–Adult Literacy Council

Volunteers Teach More Than 1,700 Adults to Read and Succeed Yearly

Julie Kramer is high on the Nashville Adult Literacy Council (NALC) for its two main goals: Teaching American adults to read and teaching English skills to adult immigrants. Working with classes and through mentoring, nearly 600 volunteers teach more than 1,700 adults each year to read and succeed.


Isolated by the need for a new language, immigrants can turn to NALC for assistance. Becoming more proficient enables newcomers to gain access to the larger community by being able to talk to and understand grocers, doctors, potential employers, and so forth. Learning English allows parents to help their children with school. And the NALC’s citizenship classes facilitate the family’s move toward citizenship.


Not being able to read also isolates thousands of adult Americans. Nearly one in eight Nashville adults can’t read at a functional level. Inability to read labels, complete an application form, comprehend a bill, understand a child’s grade card or homework, and so on limits persons’ economic quality of life and also affects their physical and emotional health and family and social relationships. Depending on others to read is both inefficient and humiliating. NALC classes offer remedial reading for those seeking to enter high school equivalency classes.

Volunteers make the difference. Find out more about the program, apply to volunteer, or check the monthly training schedule at or email

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Jan 10, 2018

050 Betti Lose–VITA Tax Prep

Joyfully Serving the Community—St. Luke’s Community House

Community volunteer, Betti Lose, enjoys a variety of opportunities at St. Luke’s Community House to help the many people served by that organization. In the course of a few weeks, she might do administrative tasks, schedule free Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) sessions, assist a senior citizen playing bingo, or shelve books in the large and inviting preschool library.

St. Luke’s mission is both to help low-income families, seniors, and individuals in West Nashville achieve their potential and to prevent problems that threaten the stability of families and community. The organization works on that mission every day, but January through April they specifically accomplish it by providing free income tax preparation for Nashville area residents with incomes of $64,000 or less. Trained volunteers prepare taxes at no cost to the taxpayer. Refunds are electronically deposited into the client’s bank account. These volunteers work with clients by appointment. Betti schedules those appointments.

More information about this vital VITA program is available at their website For more details, call St. Luke’s front office at 615-350-7893. Christie Bearden, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager, can be reached directly at 615-324-8375 or

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Jan 3, 2018

049 Bill Farris–Habitat for Humanity

From Banker to Builder—Thanks to Habitat for Humanity

Bill Farris is always learning. Each time he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity he learns something—how to swing a hammer, use a saw safely, measure accurately…and it’s fun. He describes a day with Habitat as seeing “ants on crackers”…in other words, a swarm of folks helping to create a home! A retired banker, Bill now thinks of himself as a builder.

“Don’t think you can build a house? Join a Habitat group and see what you can accomplish,” Bill challenges everyone. Not only do volunteers have the opportunity to learn new skills, but also they can use their existing skills, including painting, landscaping, and even clean up, to finish out the construction. Men, women, and older teens can be part of the team, and the time commitment is flexible.

An ecumenical Christian ministry, Habitat for Humanity provides the life-changing opportunity for people to own affordable quality homes. Habitat family members participate in learning about home ownership and then invest “sweat equity” as they work alongside the volunteers. They too are gaining new skills, and they are also acquiring the dignity of seeing what their own work has achieved and an appreciation for the belief in them exhibited by the commitment of so many volunteers. Together, the families and the volunteers create safer neighborhoods for more children and facilitate a pathway of hope for those served.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville builds 32–50 houses a year in a four-county area. With that many homes to build each year, Habitat is always looking for additional construction volunteers. If you are interested in building as a group, or as an individual, please visit their website for additional information.

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Dec 27, 2017

048 Sherri Settles–Tennessee Donor Services

Improving Lives by Connecting People—Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation

Everyone has an opportunity to leave a legacy as a registered organ and tissue donor. As a donor, you can save and improve lives of individuals in need of a lifesaving transplant and those whose lives are impacted by tissue donation. Or you can volunteer as an ambassador, telling your story to community groups of how giving or receiving an organ or tissue donation has had an impact on you and your family. Or you can help get the word out through mailings, special projects, and participating in the big fundraising concert. Volunteering at any level helps connect people who have great need with those who can give of themselves.

Sherri Settles, staff with Tennessee Donor Services, talks about how volunteers, donors, and families make donation and transplantation possible. By mobilizing the power of people and the potential of technology, Tennessee Donor Services extend the reach of each donor’s gift, honoring their gift of life. Visit the Tennessee Donor Services website ( for more information.

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Dec 20, 2017

047 Ron Schlagheck—Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels—More Than Just a Meal

For Ron Schlagheck and his wife, the invitation to drive for Meals on Wheels came from their church. Volunteers at various churches often take turns preparing the meals. Other volunteers deliver them.

The recipients are usually homebound and are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals due to health and/or physical limitations. These individuals not only enjoy the hot nutritional meals, but also the visits from volunteers who care about them and make sure that they are doing well.

The recipients are not only receivers, but also givers. Kindness and appreciation abound. Ron and his wife continue to be amazed at the reception they receive each time they make their delivery!

In addition to Meals on Wheels, Ron’s days are busy volunteering in local community councils, University of Florida Alumni Association, STEM mentoring, AARP advocacy, and church projects.

For more information, visit a Meals on Wheels website.

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Dec 13, 2017

046 Tiffany Cloud—Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Outreach—More Awareness Needed

Tiffany Cloud-Mann, Vice President of Programs & Outreach for the Mid-South Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, helps work on the global, national, and local levels to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Mid South Chapter offers several educational programs for community members and families facing Alzheimer's. Locally, volunteers assist with health fairs and in the office preparing mailings and answering inquiries. Other volunteers use their expertise as speakers on behalf of the Association or as organizers for the big fundraising walks. Yet others get sponsors and make the walk.

At the state and federal level, the Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voice for Alzheimer's disease advocacy, fighting for critical Alzheimer's research, prevention, and care initiatives. The organization diligently works to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. In this interview Tiffany speaks to how volunteers can make a difference for this vital work, as well.

The organization provides caregivers and families with comprehensive online resources and information through their Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiver Center and a professionally staffed 24/7 daily, a helpline (1-800-272-3900), which offers information and advice to more than 300,000 callers each year and provides translation services in more than 200 languages. For more information visit

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Dec 6, 2017

045 Susan Brown—The Little Pantry That Could

Serving Those in Need—The Little Pantry With a Big Heart

After teaching elementary school for 37 years, Susan Brown found another way to make a connection with others: serving neighbors who are in need through The Little Pantry That Could. After a “100-Year” flood in Nashville in 2010, Stacy Cowney realized that access to healthy food wasn’t a widely available resource. She committed to changing that, and The Little Pantry That Could, which she directs, was born.

Giving food provisions like fresh fruits and vegetables, and a variety of shelf-stable goods to anyone in need is the volunteers’ primary mission, but shoppers have other needs, as well. And in whatever way Little Pantry volunteers can help, they will. Susan and other volunteers make personal connections with each shopper, letting them know that they are cared for and that they are important. Also, staff and volunteers believe that having a choice gives persons a sense of dignity, and so visitors are able to take what they need without question.

Born and raised in Nashville, Susan has retired and has also become a Master Gardener. She loves gardening and hiking and volunteering. Three days a week, she is making the world a kinder place, helping those in need.

The Little Pantry opens its doors to people all over Davidson and surrounding counties. To find out more about this unique organization, visit or call or text 615-260-5769.

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Nov 29, 2017

044 Monk Baird—Habitat for Humanity

Bringing People Together—To Build Homes, Communities, and Hope

From wife, mother, and homemaker to Habitat insulation specialist, Monk Baird leaves no stone unturned or any grass growing under her feet! A true Nashville community volunteer, she has an impact far and wide, making a difference by delivering Meals on Wheels, preparing and serving meals for Loaves and Fishes, and insulating and building homes for Habitat for Humanity in greater Nashville as well as on the Gulf Coast after a hurricane and in Ireland and Hawaii. Asked how many houses she has helped build…a long pause…“too many to count,” she replied.

“It’s fun, and it makes you feel good,” Monk says about why she volunteers, adding, “If I didn’t stay physically active, I would be atrophied.” Directly helping others is what her life all about. Needless to say in her 85+ years, she not only has made a difference to many, but also has served as an example and mentor to even more.

At Habitat of Humanity, they build. They build because they believe that everyone, everywhere, should have a healthy, affordable place to call home. Volunteers make the homes possible! Churches, businesses, and other organizations offer opportunities to volunteer with a group for a one-day or complete build. Individuals may also volunteer.

To learn more about Habitat, visit For additional information specific to Nashville, visit:

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Nov 22, 2017

043 Beth Howard–The Café at Thistle Farms

The Café at Thistle Farms—Home to Anyone Who Walks Through Their Doors

Growing up in a conservative household in the Bible belt, Beth Howard learned very early in life that any honest job is one of which to be proud. After meeting friends for coffee numerous times at The Café at Thistle Farms, Beth felt called to volunteer in The Café helping in countless ways. It wasn’t long before she knew she was in the right place—giving back to others by waiting on tables, taking out the garbage, and any job which allowed the ladies of Magdalene to spend more time interacting with customers.

The Café feels like home to anyone who walks through the doors. It was built and staffed by the Magdalene graduates and dedicated volunteers. It is a warm and inviting spot for catching up with friends, enjoying a homemade meal, sipping a cup of tea or coffee, or sharing a story—and for discovering or reaffirming that Love Heals!

Beth cut her professional life cut short to make time to take care of a son with cancer and her aging mother. Beth feels she’s being as deliberate about future choices as well. She shares, “I’m taking each day as it comes, doing all I can to volunteer my time to causes that are most meaningful to me. For today, it’s working. “

For more information about Magdalene, Thistle Farms, and The Café at Thistle Farms go to the website:

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Nov 15, 2017

042 Bill Miller—Bible Study in Prison

Offering Prisoners a New Way of Life

In a maximum security prison, Bill Miller, a retired pastor, invites inmates to discover new life through their weekly study of the Bible and other related materials*. As inmates and volunteer alike read, reflect, discuss commentary, and then share how God is speaking to them through the study that particular week, they develop respect for one another, even when they disagree, and find a community of caring. Bill notes those who attend these studies at Riverbend, the prison, are just like every other group he has led.

Bill has also been able to mentor inmates and parolees, lead worship and serve Communion, be a part of the serving team at the Christmas dinner, attend parole hearings, be a pen pal, and visit with inmates. Bill says, “I marvel at the ways in which the involvement of persons with inmates and parolees has transformed the lives of those reaching out to establish relationships as well as those being served.” He reminds us—“in giving we receive and in receiving we give.” Bill talks about putting ourselves in position to find how God graces us in our reaching out to God, to one another, and to the hurting people all around us.

To reach out to prisoners or parolees, check with your local church or denominational office.

*The studies Bill most often uses are in the Disciple Bible Study series, available at or

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Nov 8, 2017

041 Brandi Ghergia—Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)—Amazing Results

As the senior manager of the Nashville Alliance for Financial Independence at United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Brandi Ghergia manages four financial stability programs—Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center, Bank On Music City, and the Nashville Alliance for Financial Independence. The VITA program, with the help of over 260 dedicated volunteers, produced over 15,000 income tax returns in a 30-county area in 2016, resulting in nearly $24 million in tax refunds in Middle Tennessee.

The impact VITA is making is amazing. Volunteers don’t have to have a tax preparation background, but they do need to know about computers and be friendly…no grumpy volunteers! Not only do the people helped return each year, but also the volunteers. The service, performed by the volunteers in both a professional and caring manner, creates a sense of community that invites reconnecting from tax season to tax season.

United Way is making a better Nashville by creating strategic, scalable solutions focused on education, financial stability, and health—the building blocks for a good life! A quality education leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health. Creating solutions in these areas moves people from dependence to independence.


Local, Nashville, TN volunteers:

Out-of-state volunteering:


Phone number and email address for volunteers:



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Nov 1, 2017

040 Jo-Ann Heidenreich—Parthenon Docent

Parthenon Docent Program—Sharing a Love of History and Art

“You don’t need to know anything ahead of time to volunteer “—these are the words of Jo-Ann Heidenreich, a current volunteer for Nashville’s Parthenon Docent Program. Her love of art and Greek mythology is a perfect match for the opportunity to serve as an ambassador, promoting awareness and providing education about the Parthenon.

Jo-Ann’s work as a teacher and administrator for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for thirty years and as an educational consultant in more than twelve states, including Tennessee, set the stage for her vital role as docent.

As docents for the Parthenon, volunteers become teachers, guides, givers of directions, and public relations experts—all in one. The program, which started in 1998, is now in its third decade. Docents are work four to eight hours a month at the iconic Nashville attraction and commit to one year in various volunteer duties.

To obtain further information or to participate in this fascinating program, contact the Parthenon at or call 615-862-8431. For other volunteer opportunities as a docent, contact museums, historical homes, or other locations of historical or artistic importance in your community.

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Oct 25, 2017

039 Scott Steedley—International Center for Sustainability

Working With Nature for Good!

More people are becoming aware of the need for re-engaging with the earth in ways that are sustainable. But what to do about the issue? Scott Steedly, the founder of the International Center for Sustainability, has concrete—no, make that, “cob and bottle”— ideas!

The Center willingly customizes volunteer opportunities in numerous projects, including ecotourism, agro-tourism, educational programs, litter control, re/up-cycling, watershed re-nourishment, food-source and rainwater harvesting, wastewater management, beautification, team-building, animal husbandry, wildlife protection, resource preservation, appropriate technology models, events, and natural “cob and bottle” building.

Customizing also means accommodating the time a volunteer is able to give and locations desired (currently within South Carolina, Tennessee, Costa Rica, Belize, and other areas in Central America).

In addition to gaining knowledge and experience, volunteers report benefits from reconnecting with nature, working alongside others who share the passion, and feeling empowered to help others become more aware and engaged in caring for Mother Earth.

For more information, check the Facebook page (International Center for Sustainability) or the website:

You can find other episodes in the series at or on iTunes, iOS app Podcast, or Android app Stitcher with a search on Retire To Volunteering.

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Oct 18, 2017

038 Judy Davis—School Volunteer

Helping Children Succeed in School—and Life!

With a passion for helping children learn and excel, Judy Davis volunteered with one of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Assigned to a first grade class, she spent a full year one day a week, working one on one with every student. She assisted both those who were advanced and those who struggled with learning.

Judy enjoys children and recognizes that this special attention makes a difference in their lives. She encourages others to visit or call individual schools and ask about volunteer opportunities, which include not only tutoring but also many other ways to contribute to student success. Below are various ways to explore the opportunities:

• Contact a school directly to learn about volunteer opportunities.

• For district volunteer opportunities, contact the Family Information Center at 615-259-4636 or email

• Contact the Pencil Foundation, one of our community partners that coordinate volunteers on behalf of schools.

• Complete the volunteer registration form:

You can find other episodes in the series at or on iTunes, iOS app Podcast, or Android app Stitcher with a search on Retire To Volunteering.

You can support this series at


Oct 11, 2017

037 Betti Lose–Christmas Adoption

Joyfully Serving the Community–St. Lukes Community House

During Christmas Community volunteer Betti Lose goes above and beyond in everything she does, including assisting at St. Lukes Community House where she received the Joe Sowell Legacy Volunteer Award, their highest recognition given to people who give their time, talent, and heart to help those in need.

Betti enjoys the variety of opportunities at St. Lukes to help the many people served by that organization, and especially the annual Christmas Adopt-a-Family program.

During the Christmas season, volunteer donors can adopt a family and purchase modest gifts for the children and parents. Families pay $5 to register for the program. St. Lukes hosts a Christmas House where families can pick up the gifts.

For additional information, visit St. Lukes website or call the front desk at 615-350-7893. Or contact Christie Bearden, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager, directly at 615-324-8375 or

You can find other episodes in the series at or on iTunes, iOS app Podcast, or Android app Stitcher with a search on Retire To Volunteering.

You can support this series at

Oct 4, 2017

036 Cecelia Schlagheck–Leading the Way, Finding the Means

If a group needs it done, Cecilia can do it!

Starting with the T-shirt sales at the elementary school and on through running the Halloween bazaars of the older students, Cecilia, then a stay-at-home mom, saw firsthand the need not just for fundraising but specifically for someone to take a leadership role assisting others on ways and means committees. Since then, Cecelia has had a steady stream of helping create successful events, both working with students and with other adults:

As a teacher she became the Junior Class sponsor. She helped the students organize the junior-senior prom. Students had to choose a theme, create table arrangements, decide on the background for pictures, make decisions and carry out much more. Cecelia's leadership gave students not only a successful event, but also a model for learning leadership themselves.

As a member of the Arnold Engineering Development Center Woman's Club on the Air Force Base in Tullahoma, TN, Cecelia turned her attention to the annual Christmas Boutique. With her leadership, her team collected unwanted items, reimagined them, and then sold them. Proceeds funded needed scholarships.

Cecelia says, For me working with others to find the ways and means is a rewarding activity. Not too many people will step up to lead. Many will help, when they can, but I can provide the vision and drive to help others find new and creative ways to earn monies especially for scholarship. Also, our upcoming leaders need a boost, and I am willing to do all I can to help them along.

You can find other episodes in the series at

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