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Volunteering is a great way to feel included….

Jennifer Kelly - I feel I’m busier now than when I was working full time

I have personally found that by joining and volunteering my time to our many wonderful organisations, I haven’t a spare moment to feel either isolated or lonely. In fact I feel I’m busier now than when I was working full time and, as a bonus, I have gained some new skills, many new friends and contacts and feel more enriched, valued and confident with having more structure to my life.

It’s all too easy to sit back and allow our world to become very small: But it’s just not that easy for most of us to find the courage or the will to take that vital first step or find the right niche to slot into; one that will help us to gain or maybe regain the confidence to become more involved with life around us.

My re involvement with life began just over ten years ago when the Tsunami destroyed much of Asia. I was doing very little with my life, I had come to a cross road and didn’t know which direction to take. There was an announcement on TV stressing that Oxfam desperately needed 10, 000 volunteers to help with the crisis. I thought I’d help for a few weeks, but such is the enjoyment and fulfilment, I’m still there. I’m hooked.

Then about six years ago I became a member of U3A. I joined to learn how to use my computer but never for a moment envisaged that I would end up teaching computers and in the very same classroom in which I learned. This and my time on the shop floor in Oxfam has been an enormous help in regaining the confidence I lost when my career eventually came to its conclusion.                                                                                                          

Somehow along the way I also found myself covering meetings with other organisations on behalf of U3A. Positive Aging, Age Friendly Strategic Alliance and Senior Citizens Consortium Executive Committee have been the main ones.

Volunteering is a great way to feel included. I can really recommend you try it.