Thursday, January 13, 2011

Working for Fun Not Profit

It's a new year. I have now fully retired. Since there's only so much shopping, reading, house cleaning, tv viewing, exercising, travelling, furniture moving and puttering I care to do, it's time to commit to something new. I shall fill the void with meaningful courses, hobbies and community service activities. I have studied the options.

My resources are limited, so unlike some who are able to open private schools in South Africa, reconstruct homes in Haiti, monitor elections in the Sudan or educate teachers in the Dominican Republic, my age and lifestyle have forced me to offer my services locally.

Volunteer work in schools and with children is out. I'm old now. My patience for noise and organized chaos, are diminishing. Besides, I have done that type of work for so long that I refuse to share my skills and talents for free. Seniors are more appealing and I've often been intrigued by the ads for "junior seniors helping senior seniors"...a definite possibility. I'll consider it.

I was at a meeting recently where a woman approached me and convinced me that I should help at a hospital auxiliary used clothing and gift shop. "Great idea", I said, thinking about the amount of "stuff" I could unload from home during each weekly shift. I picked up an application form, filled it out and went downtown to the police department to get the compulsory police check.

"Do you have a letter from the organization you're volunteering at?" I was asked.

 I cringed at the use of a preposition at the end of the sentence, gathered my wits and responded, "Uhhhh, no, but they want a police check with the application."

"Well, you'll need a letter from them before you can get the police check. It'll cost you $5.65, unless you prefer to get one without a letter in which case it costs $28."  She looked at me suspiciously as if I were some kind of alien and added "Do you even live in this town?"

"Errr....yes, I do." I responded surprised at the implied accusation. "Thanks. I expect I'll be back."

Off I went. I added a note to my volunteer application form, stating the aforementioned police check info and the necessity for a letter. I dropped it off at the hospital and haven't heard a word since. Apparently, the hospital already has 600 volunteers. That's what happens in a town where the average age is senior. Lots of volunteers.

"I think I'll try the library", I said to myself.

So I either uploaded or downloaded the volunteer form from their website, printed it off, filled it out in detail and headed to the library.

"The volunteer co-ordinator will call you today or tomorrow," I was told.

It's now a week later. I haven't heard a word.

While I was clipping out information on art classes, cake decorating and stained glass window design, I noticed a course calendar from a local college tucked into the middle of the newspaper. I looked through the booklet and noted an interesting course entitled "Photoshop...Picture Manipulation".

"That could be fun, or strenuous, or difficult, or confusing," I said to myself. "Oh well, what's the worst thing that could happen?" Thoughts of overwhelming amounts of technological data, complex instructions and other scary scenarios raced through my head. I brushed them away with a tiny little brain broom created by my imagination. "I'm patient. I'm smart. I'm capable...I'm, gulp...a little nervous."

So I trotted over to the college, took a deep breath and signed up. A six week course beginning at the end of the month. I hope I encounter lots of beginners. I hate going to a class full of keeners who already know it all and immediately try to impress the instructor by asking questions wayyy beyond the basic, "How do I turn on the computer?"

So, no volunteer opportunities as yet but I am registered for one course. If nothing else, that will give me something to blog about. "Photoshop for Phools" or "Manipulation for Morons"...hmmm...Those are definitely more fitting titles for a person with my level of technological skill.

 I'm back to focusing on the possibility of helping in a seniors' home. I saw a notice requesting people to come along on field trips and do seasonal decorating. Sounds right up my alley. Guess I'll give it a try. Perhaps the seniors are not overrun by volunteer seniors offering to help in the senior facility.

How tough can senior field trips be to supervise? Seniors are less likely to run off than four and five year olds, and if they do, I'm pretty confident I can catch them. Their speech is probably at least as clear and easy to understand as that of a kindergartener and they have about the same number of real teeth. I doubt that I'll have to insist they wear their coats, hats and mitts and hopefully, they won't be losing these items along the way. And best of all, I won't get into any trouble with parents for things real or imagined which may happen on the trip.

So these are my current ideas for community involvement. Along with my continued attempts at writing, streetwalking (I'm not done yet), photo organizing, decorating and painting, I will hopefully keep myself amused for awhile. Oh, and don't count out the belly dancing just yet. It's still on my "to do" list. 

1 comment:

  1. You're going to have so much fun with Photoshop! I have been using it for years now and indeed there is a big learning curve.. BUT.. once you've got it there is almost no end to what you can do with it.
    Tell us how it goes. :)