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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Retire-To Volunteering


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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

018 Margaret Smith—Volunteering with Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary—Spreading an Appreciation and Enjoyment of Nature

Since childhood Margaret Smith has cherished nature. Her maternal grandmother lived on the Cumberland River bluffs and introduced her to the world of nature through flowers and animals and the habitat they need to live. Discussions and breakfasts on the bluffs with her grandmother proved to be the instrumental in Margaret’s love of nature.

After college Margaret taught elementary school, later married, had two children and went to graduate school in 1980. She graduated with a doctorate and maintained a practice in psychology for 26 years. After taking her grandchildren to enjoy the nature sanctuary’s “hot chocolate tour,” she started volunteering at Owl's Hill. Later Margaret enrolled in Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s naturalist program and now is known as a Master Naturalist.

Owl’s Hill is waiting to be discovered by nature lovers as well as those who haven’t yet discovered they are! The staff is eager to share their awareness, knowledge, and skill. With many environmental-education programs offered for all ages, volunteers are especially important.

To learn more about volunteering at Owl’s Hill, visit

For more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s free Retire-To newsletter: and visit

May 24, 2017

017 Jean Gauld-Jaeger—Volunteering as a Plein Air Artist

Plein Air Painters—Dedicated to Conservation and Preservation

After twenty-five years as Director of the Office of Patient Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Jean Gauld-Jaeger retired and pursued her interest in fine art. Ever the student, she has studied painting with well-respected portrait artists Michael Shane Neal, Roger Brown, Jason Saunders, Dawn Whitelaw and many others. But she is also a respected teacher, instructing others individually and through group painting classes and workshops in both her studio and other locations.

As a volunteer in The Chestnut Group, Jean channels her passion for painting into preservation of the beauty she sees. She and the other group members are plein air artists, leaving behind the four walls of their studios to paint and draw in open air. They capture the beauty of the Tennessee landscape in their artwork and sell it to raise funds to protect historical and natural sites in the state.

A recipient of several awards for her portraits and landscapes, which are on display in numerous galleries in Middle Tennessee, Jean is also past president of The Chestnut Group and is especially proud of the fact that a portion of funds earned from the sale of plein air artwork, inspired by the region’s scenic richness, is made available to organizations that share a common vision: To preserve fragile local historic properties and threatened environments—habitats, farmland, and natural areas.

More information about volunteering with The Chestnut Group is on their website: Jean’s information can be found on her website:

For more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s free Retire-To newsletter: and visit

May 17, 2017

016 Taylor Davenport—Volunteering with Project Transformation

Purposeful Ministry—Project Transformation

As a year-round Fellow with Project Transformation Tennessee, Taylor Davenport has been inspired by the many volunteers (homework helpers, encouragers, and mentors) in the program. Project Transformation’s mission is three-fold: To engage young adults, like Taylor, in purposeful ministry and leadership, to support underserved children and families, and to connect churches to communities in need. As one of the young adult interns, Taylor works with volunteers to provide authentic, hands-on, high-quality programs for children and youth both during the summer and the school year.

In addition to leading the children and youth, Taylor and the other interns also value learning from them, going the extra mile with home visits to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the families.

A 2015 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a BS in Integrated Marketing Communications, Taylor is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Nonprofit Leadership at Belmont University. When she's not coordinating volunteers, preparing marketing material, or studying, she enjoys cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels.

Potential Project Transformation volunteers can contact Taylor at or 615-810-9620. Additional information can be found at the Project Transformation’s website

For more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s free Retire-To newsletter: and visit

May 10, 2017

015 Lori Bumgarner—Volunteering with Senior Olympics

Senior Olympics—Lifetime of Sports

Lori Bumgarner is the owner of paNASH, a passion and career coaching service. Certified both as life coach and a transformational coach, she works with people going through life and career transitions, helping them discover and pursue their passions.

Author of the Amazon #1 bestselling book, Advance Your Image, Lori has been featured in The Wall Street Journal’s blog. She is also a regular contributor to The Daily Positive and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global.

Finding her niche as a volunteer in the Senior Olympics has proven to be a perfect match, given her love for sports and her desire to relate to older adults. Her personal mission is to boldly pursue her passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

You can visit Lori’s web site at or email her directly at To find out more about the Senior Olympics programs and volunteer opportunities, visit the National Senior Games Association website: You will be able to find specific information for your state.

For more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s free Retire-To newsletter: and visit

May 3, 2017

014 Grace Smith–Volunteering with Middle Tennessee Council on Aging

The Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee—Trusted Leader and Catalyst

A long-time volunteer of the Council on Aging (COA), as Executive Director Grace Smith brings more than two decades of experience in senior advocacy. A licensed master social worker and a program manager for the Meharry Consortium Geriatric Education Center, she also sat on the board of the National Association for Geriatric Education and led the Mental Health Association’s geriatric outreach and caregiver support programs. She put that experience to work again as a volunteer, serving as chair of the COA Leadership Council and most recently as vice-president of its board.

Grace’s interests and skills are well-matched with COA’s mission: To strive to ensure that the community values, honors, and supports older adults and caregivers by addressing unmet needs through information, advocacy, and education, and by being a catalyst for comprehensive solutions.

According to Grace, "This is an exciting time of growth in the greater Nashville area, and the COA will continue to be a trusted leader in addressing the unmet needs of seniors and caregivers, including transportation and easily accessible resource information." For specific information about COA’s work on transportation, listen to Ed Cole’s interview (“010 Senior Ride Nashville”) for additional volunteer opportunities.

For more information about the various volunteer possibilities through the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee, visit their website and/or email For more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s free Retire-To newsletter: and visit