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: July, 2017
Jul 26, 2017

026 Kim Kline–Saddle Up!

Volunteering with Horses

As the Volunteer Services Director since 2007, Kim Kline has been helping nearly 500 people a year provide various riding programs to over 145 children and youth per week. Kim says, “Saddle Up! could not do what it does without lots of volunteers.” Each of those riders need from one to three volunteers every time they are at Saddle Up!

Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities with horses. Founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1991, Saddle Up! is Middle Tennessee’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with disabilities. The organization operates year-round on their 34-acre, farm near Franklin, Tennessee. For many of the riders, Saddle Up! is one of the few, if not the only, recreational programs available to them.

In this interview Kim introduces several of the many volunteer opportunities available at Saddle Up!, talks about what these volunteers do, and proudly presents the training programs available. With horseback riding lessons and programs, including Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Learning, and Equestrian Club, as well as Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, Saddle Up! needs volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests. In her words, “You don’t have to know anything about horses or children to volunteer at Saddle Up!. We’ll give you enough information and enough practice to be safe and effective around horses and children.” What you can do as a volunteer ranges from helping as the person leading the horse or assisting the rider (as a sidewalker) to mucking stalls, mowing pastures, or providing office or fundraising assistance.

Check out the volunteer page at or email Kim ( to discuss your interest. To find other equine-related programs in your area, visit the website of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (

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Jul 19, 2017

025 Jacquie Sojourner–Archiving

Church Archive and History—A Unique Passion Fulfilled

Jacquie Sojourner, a graduate of Drew University’s college and graduate school, has a passion for history. Fulfilling that, she is in charge of West End United Methodist Church’s Archives and History Committee. She and other volunteers on the committee collect, preserve, and display materials of the church and beyond, including Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Keeping these records provides others with a window into the past, which can light the future.

The resources include not only the written word, but also visual, pictorial, and digital material. Genealogy records, including wedding and baptism information from members of the church, are also part of the collection. On the horizon for celebrating the church’s 150th anniversary is audiovisual material, possibly a film, as well as a book. Finding creative ways to bring the past forward to delight others is part of the fun of this volunteer job.

Storing and restoring historical information is a service many churches, schools, civic groups, and other organizations would greatly appreciate from a volunteer.

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Jul 12, 2017

024 Bob Day–Parthenon Docent

Serving as an Ambassador—Educating Visitors

As one of Nashville’s ambassadors, Bob Day loves his “work.” His volunteer job takes him and his wife to the museum as docents. Having participated in the docent program training, the two of them now serve as ambassadors promoting awareness and providing education about the Parthenon, Nashville’s full-scale replica of the ancient Greek temple. The couple have been so inspired about what they have learned that they have traveled to Greece and Italy to see firsthand places and objects de art previously they only enjoyed from a far!

Docents play a vital role in offering quality programming to Nashville’s visitors. They are teachers, guides, givers of directions, and public relations experts. The Parthenon program, which started in September 1998, is now in its third decade. Docents there are asked to work four to eight hours a month and commit to one year in various volunteer duties.

Bob reminds everyone. “There is a museum out there looking for you!”

Twice a year, the Parthenon offers training classes. To obtain further information and participate in this fascinating program, contact the Parthenon ( or 615-862-8431). Or reach out to a museum of interest to you in your area.

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Jul 5, 2017

023 Karen Stevens–Fundraising Events

Event Coordinator—aka Fundraising Extraordinaire and Community Volunteer

Not everyone enjoys coordinating events, but Karen Stevens does. From an early age organizing a party seemed to be in her DNA. Her earliest memory, around the age of six, was creating her mother’s birthday party at one of her mother’s friend’s home and wrapping presents (which she found in her mother’s vanity drawer) as birthday gifts. On another occasion, realizing her younger sister didn’t have an “appropriate” birthday cake, she created a drum cake for her party. Who would have ever guessed these would be preparation for her passion?

Karen is no stranger to the non-profit world. Helping organizations increase revenue is her way of making a difference. From Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Magdalene, Habitat for Humanity, Siloam Family Health Center, Room in the Inn, Nations Ministry Center, Luke 14:12, and Music for the Soul, she has helped increase their financial support by “throwing a party”!

The one-hour free-ask event is a favorite. When CEOs, boards of directors, and volunteers embrace the concept, the work begins. Karen guides them through a series of steps, coordinates data keeping, and manages venue details. She creates a great opportunity for organizations—many of which don’t have a development person on staff—not only to increase revenue and grow their volunteer base, but also to educate guests about the nonprofit’s mission and impact in the community. Needless to say—a win/win for everyone!

For Karen, volunteering in the community is the norm. No perimeters. Seeing a need is the only criteria. No excuse for not having enough to keep busy. What groups might just be waiting for you? What’s your passion? What new experience would you like try? Visit Hands On Nashville’s (whose tag line is “Be the Change. Volunteer”) website: for ideas.

See you in the community…volunteering!

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