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: June, 2017
Jun 28, 2017

022 Chuck Jaeger—Docent with Nashville Symphony

Introducing Guests to the Schermerhorn Center

Since 2009 Chuck Yaeger has volunteered as a docent at the Nashville Symphony’s home, the Schermerhorn Center. He is quick to say that he and other docents are introducing guests to the building! Whether a passionate symphony lover or simply a curious tourist, visitors love hearing about the history of the building and its creation. Docents are asked to keep their tour to an hour although it could easily last three, given the volume of questions from the enthusiastic guests.

The Nashville Symphony offers a wide variety of opportunities to engage volunteers from Nashville and its surrounding communities. If you would like to support the performing arts through volunteer service, they would like to partner with you. Nashville Symphony volunteers can customize their schedules to fit their lifestyles.

For more information, visit their website where you will find the “support” tab …click, and you’ll find “volunteer”…click, and variety of opportunities and a volunteer form will be available.

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Jun 21, 2017

021 Courtney Sobieralski—Thistle Farms and the Café

Thistle Stop Café—Built By and For the Community

Courtney Sobieralski, Director of the Thistle Stop Café, enjoys talking about this extraordinary café staffed by the women of Thistle Farms, as well as volunteers from the Nashville area. Anyone who walks through the doors for a bite of nourishment, a cup of tea or coffee, or simply a brief respite, discovers a home. The Thistle Farms community witnesses to the truth that in the end, love is more powerful than all other forces, especially those that drive women to the street.

A sanctuary of healing for women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking, and prostitution, the Thistle Farms community of survivors, advocates, employees, interns, volunteers, and friends from all across the world are young and old, women and men. United in their desire to transform a culture that still allows human beings to be bought and sold, they believe that in the end, love is the strongest force for change in the world.

The Thistle Stop Café operates under the guiding principles of hospitality, healing, story, and chado (translated from Japanese as “The Way of Tea”). Volunteers are welcome.

Discover more at the website: Or visit the Facebook pages: and Check out the menu too and “do lunch” with a friend or simply take a break at the café.

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Jun 14, 2017

020 Bill Farris—Comforting the Littlest

Children’s Hospital Needs Grandfathers to “Read”

Bill Farris is no stranger to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. In fact seven years ago he was a regular visitor to see his grandson. It was then Bill began his “reading.” Today he continues comforting children in the neo-natal intensive care unit of the same hospital by holding, rocking, reading, telling stories of his youth, and humming (no singing—just humming) to babies—a blessing to him, as well.

Bill feels this volunteer activity is his way of helping the parents and grandparents who are working and not able to be there, as well as the nurses who are continuously busy as they help all their charges. Needless to say, volunteers like Bill are a welcome addition to the care of these littlest ones.

As Bill reminds us, hospitals are everywhere and most likely readily awaiting new volunteers!

For additional information about Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital and to learn more about their volunteer opportunities, visit

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Jun 7, 2017

019 Fern Richie–Respite for Dementia Caregivers

Sunny Day Club—A Volunteer’s Perspective

Fern Richie, a Sunny Day Club volunteer buddy, enthusiastically looks forward to Mondays at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The club provides a special place for older adults, especially those who are experiencing memory loss, to enjoy caring companionship and mental stimulation. Being able to bring a loved one to the Sunny Day Club also gives caregivers a period of respite, enabling them to care for their own needs. Fern and other volunteers willingly give their time and love and are rewarded as they see the joy on the faces of the members and the thanks of the caregivers.

Recently retired, Fern (DSN, APRN-BC) has had a meaningful career as a college professor and psychotherapist. Her passion was, and is, helping young women whose lives have been affected by the intersection of mental illness, drug addiction, sexual abuse, poverty, and racism. Her volunteer work with the Sunny Day Club is an extension of her long line of volunteering over the years.

For more information about volunteering with the Sunny Day Club, please contact Erin Racine at 615.321.8500 or

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