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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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

You can find other episodes in the series at

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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.

You can find other episodes in the series at

Please support this series at

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.

You can support this series at

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

You can support this series at

Sep 27, 2017

035 Kathy Hannen–State Health Insurance-Assistance Program (SHIP)

A SHIP to Help You Navigate Medicare—for Free!

Kathy Hannen is a volunteer for the State Health Insurance-Assistance Program (SHIP), which is a free health-benefits counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their families or caregivers. SHIP’s mission is to educate, advocate, counsel, and empower people to make informed healthcare benefit decisions. SHIP is an independent program funded by federal agencies and is not affiliated with the insurance industry.

If you are on Medicare, check the back of your Medicare book for your state’s contact information. Not yet enrolled? Use the link below. Volunteers are readily available to assist you. They’ll require some information from you, such as the medications you are currently taking, in order to identify the different plans that might fit your needs.

Or look for a SHIP event in your community. People eligible for Medicare can often attend a “Medicare Monday” workshop and learn about options for healthcare the coming year. The service is free and staffed by knowledgeable and compassionate volunteers like Kathy.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) Website:

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

Sep 20, 2017

034 Sam Bowman—Brethren Volunteer Service

Brethren Volunteer Service—For Those Wanting a Life Adventure

Brethren Volunteer Service places volunteers in a six-month, one-, or two-year assignment in the United States and around the world, focusing on peace, justice, service to those in need, and care for creation. This Church of the Brethren ministry, which has been active since 1948, is open to all persons regardless of their faith tradition and even to those who claim no religious tradition. The program served as a model for the development of the Peace Corps. Older adults are especially welcome.

Sam Bowman, who has served in two very different assignments, values especially the three-week orientation that helps volunteers discern where their passion, call, skills, and desire to grow fit with the “hundred” opportunities that the Brethren Volunteer Service coordinates. Sam matched his own farm background and interest in the outdoors with an assignment to a camping program for people with disabilities.

In a second assignment, Sam has worked with the three-week orientation events, which are held three times a year in various parts of the country. That experience has given him a wealth of stories and an appreciation for the “adventure of a lifetime” that volunteers discover as they find their place helping a world in need.

For more information, visit

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Sep 13, 2017

033 Kay Gray–Room in the Inn

There is Room in the Inn!

Room in the Inn (RITI) was formed when four congregations started working together in 1986 to shelter homeless people during the coldest months. Now nearly 190 congregations in Middle Tennessee provide safe haven overnight to nearly 1,400 men and women November through March. The rest of the year the organization offers emergency services, transitional support, and long-term solutions to help these people rebuild their lives.

West End United Methodist Church in Nashville is one of the participating congregations. Kay Gray and her husband, Buddy DeFord, coordinate Room in the Inn at that location. Kay speaks highly of the service through the winter months at her church. She says, “I sleep better at night knowing I’m doing some little something to help those who otherwise would have to sleep out on park benches.”

Retiring after 37 years as a pastor herself, Kay also knows the importance of inviting others to serve. Room in the Inn is a ministry that can use the time, talents, and caring of many people at whatever level they are able to help. To paraphrase a proverb: “It takes a congregation...”!

Information about Room In The Inn can be found at

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


Sep 6, 2017

032 Crys Zinkiewicz – Saddle Up!

Horsing Around–Good for Kids and Volunteers

“Mom, go ride your horse—you’ll be a nicer person!” For years, family members knew the value of horseback riding for Crys Zinkiewicz. Being outside, with her horse, riding with friends, having fun—all added up to a calmer, stronger, happier Mom. When she retired, Crys followed her passion for horses to Saddle Up!, a therapeutic riding center for children with disabilities.

“I didn’t know much about kids with special needs,” she admits, “but I knew I could clean stalls if nothing else. However, the training at Saddle Up! gave me the confidence I needed. My nine years as a volunteer there have been wonderful. I know how being with horses has helped me through the years, and now I also see the ‘magic’ they work again and again with the children.

”Saddle Up! has been helping children for more than 25 years. Starting with only ten children, four borrowed horses, and four volunteers, the program now regularly serves more than 250 children each year. To do so takes 500 volunteers! Horse experience is not required. Neither is experience with children with disabilities. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities, with varying time commitments, excellent training, and continuing support for volunteers make Saddle Up! a great place to give back.

For more about Saddle Up! visit

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Aug 30, 2017

031 Paulette Broadbent–Sewing American Girl Doll Outfits

American Dolls–Recipients of One-of-a-Kind Handmade Outfits

Paulette Broadbent isn’t your average seamstress. She has been sewing since she was twelve years old. Her grandmother and mother knew this seemingly “lost art” might be a worthy hobby for a young girl. It wasn’t long before Paulette was using her babysitting money to buy patterns and material to create clothes for herself as well as Raggedy Ann dolls and robes for her family!

Paulette’s passion for creating led her to sew her wedding dress and years later numerous dresses for her daughter and tiny clothes for her Barbie doll. With the granddaughters came a new opportunity. To the delight of the girls, their American Girl dolls are now the recipients of Grandma’s one-of-a-kind outfits.

But Paulette doesn’t just sew to benefit her own family. She also creates and donates doll clothes to churches for their silent auction fundraising. Additionally, she sells the special outfits and tithes the income. The remaining money helps keep her sewing more!

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

Aug 23, 2017

030 Everett Davis–Bookkeeping & Morgan Scott

Two Different Ways of “Doing Good for Someone Else”

In Everett Davis’s own words, he gravitates to “doing good for someone else.” Retiring after a career in a bank’s accounting department, Everett found that his expertise in the world of finance (his “head” knowledge) led him not only to volunteer to help his local church with its general ledger but also to assist the broader world of Christian churches. When the international organization, World Convention, needed a financial person, Everett was asked to share his time and talents. World Convention works globally to connect various branches of Christian churches in fellowship, understanding, and common purpose for the sake of unity in Christ Jesus.

Through their local church, Everett and his wife, Judy, also give their hearts to a very different volunteer opportunity. After a series of visits to the most poverty stricken counties of Tennessee, Morgan and Scott, Everett and Judy realized this project was an outreach to which they wanted to devote their time and energy. The Morgan-Scott Project serves the counties’ elderly, disabled, and unemployed persons through activities, training, assistance, and support to help break the cycle of poverty and enable people to help themselves.

Ambassadors for the Morgan-Scott Project, Everett and Judy have been instrumental in recruiting volunteers and donors in Nashville. Storing clothing, shoes, and appliances…actually most anything…in someone’s garage is the norm. When the storage space is filled, a caravan of volunteers travels to Morgan and Scott counties with their wares—all of which will be sold in a store similar to Goodwill—to benefit both the Project, as well as the families who live in these impoverished areas.

For more information about these two organizations, visit and

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Aug 16, 2017

029 Anna Kapoor—Volunteers in Mission

Volunteers in Mission-Making a Difference Domestically and Internationally

Anna Kapoor is making a difference wherever she goes. Professionally she has served as a registered nurse in oncology, and now as a retiree she volunteers with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (VIM). Having been part of 18 mission trips, she currently arranges specific trips, especially for the Mexico Medical Mission. She knows from her own participation that volunteers of all kinds are needed, not only medical but also those in a helping capacity. Anna promises that no previous experience is necessary—just a willingness to serve.

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission exists to promote, encourage and enable Christians to exemplify “Christian Love in Action” through short-term mission service at home and abroad. It provides opportunities for service by developing and nurturing relationships with domestic and international leaders. The VIM program continually nurtures their contacts with these leaders to respond to the needs of local communities. The organization also provides comprehensive training resources for team leaders to help them prepare their teams for the mission field.

For more information visit their website or contact UNITED METHODIST VOLUNTEERS IN MISSION, 100 Centerview Drive, Suite 210, Birmingham, AL 35216. Phone 205-453-9480 or email

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Aug 9, 2017

028 Bob Lewis—Council on Aging

Middle Tennessee Council on Aging

Bob Lewis’s education in management plus his career experiences in large corporations, including Xerox and Northern Telecom, prepared him well for his volunteering in retirement. Having moved to Nashville, he soon discovered this was the place to put down roots and work on behalf of the community.

For many years now, Bob has volunteered for Middle Tennessee’s Council on the Aging. He volunteered in several different programs and found a special match for his managerial and strategic planning skills as he served on the COA's Board of Directors for a six-year term. He is also active in Toastmasters, honing his communication skills. He is pleased to say that both competencies are ways he is able to give back to the community.

For information on Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee, visit their website:

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

Aug 2, 2017

027 Betti Lose—Food Programs

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

Community volunteer Betti Lose goes above and beyond in everything she does. St. Luke’s Community House presented her the Joe Sowell Legacy Volunteer Award, the agency’s highest volunteer award, which is given annually to a volunteer who gives of herself or himself, champions St. Luke’s to others, and sets a great example of servant leadership. Sounds like Betti Lose, for sure.

Betti enjoys the variety of opportunities at St. Luke’s, helping the many people served by that organization. On any given day, she might do administrative tasks, schedule free VITA income tax preparation, assist a senior citizen playing bingo, or shelve books in the wonderful preschool library. She is also the volunteer coordinator for St. Luke’s food programs.

She is continually impressed with the staff, facility, and other volunteers who help the people who live in the neighborhood. Betti says, “I’m embarrassed to be honored for doing something I love doing. My heart is so filled—I haven’t words to describe how I feel.”

St. Luke’s mission is both to help low-income families, seniors, and other individuals in West Nashville achieve their potential and to prevent problems that threaten the stability of families and community, such as food insecurity. From the many ways the agency reaches out, it seems they are accomplishing their mission every day!

An overview for the food programs at St. Luke’s is listed below. Visit their website for additional information, as well as their front office at 615-350-7893. Christie Bearden, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager, can be reached directly at 615-324-8375 or

Food Bank—Weekdays • 9:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m. St. Luke’s partners with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide emergency food boxes to families and individuals in need. Food boxes provide three meals for two days for each person in the household.

Mobile Meals—Weekdays. This service delivers hot, nutritious meals and a friendly visit to seniors and homebound individuals living in West Nashville.

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

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 (

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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