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Coming of Age in the News
Coming of Age:Bay Area's Noreen McKeon and Eric Nelson spoke to Mary Eileen Williams, host of BlogTalkRadio's "Feisty Side of Fifty" on finding yourself once you’ve reached your magnificent maturity. This important and enlightening discussion suggests avenues for life long learning, and remaining engaged and active in our communities.
The Importance of Volunteering
January 29, 2013
By Eric Nelson, Talent Coach at ComingofAge.org – Bay Area
According to a 2012 study by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), baby boomers have the highest volunteer rate of any age group, and we volunteer at higher rates than past generations did. “Volunteering and Civic Life in America,” another CNCS report conducted in 2011 indicated that overall volunteering among Americans was at a 5-year high. While much of that activity was conducted on behalf of filling the gaps left by budget cuts in our public schools, needs must also be met by our religious and civic groups.
As a boomer with a 25-year career in advertising and marketing communications, I hit a wall when I turned 55. I was suddenly jobless in a youth-oriented profession. A year later my frustration at not finding another position started to eat away my feeling of professional value and personal satisfaction. So I volunteered at a couple of organizations, one that needed my skills and network, and another whose mission I believed in. That experience led to my decision to channel my professional ambitions toward non-profit organizations & complete a certification in non-profit management. And the contacts I made while volunteering became references for the non-profit positions that I later applied for.
As a strategy for exploring new career directions, volunteering has been touted by search and networking sites like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder in addition to the many writers and publications that offer employment advice. Monster suggested in a recent article by contributor Matt Villano that “to fill time between jobs or explore other fields, many people are finding that a volunteer job — especially in the nonprofit sector — can sometimes lead to permanent, salaried employment.”
In addition to showing potential employers that you’re committed to career advancement despite a setback in your circumstances, volunteering is a great way to keep up your morale during your search. Volunteering also can renew confidence in your skill set & that positive feeling of accomplishment will shine during job interviews.
5 Reasons Why Volunteering is Important (as you decide how & where to find your next job): Explore New Careers –
- Volunteering provides an opportunity to meet mentors & learn about new career options.
- Learn New Skills – A volunteer position often provides a less stressful environment to train and develop new (employable) skills.
- Network – You never know who the volunteer next to you is; that’s particularly true if you’re fundraising or working on a board where you may meet higher-level contacts.
- Look Good – During a long job search, volunteering fills the gap & tells employers that you’re an engaged, energetic person.
- Feel Good – Volunteer in order to contribute to your community. Invest yourself in the position with a positive attitude & good work ethic. You’ll be making a difference while contributing to that non-profit (or other community organization)!
So, go ahead and volunteer! You’ll be doing yourself, your community (and your career prospects) a world of good!
Eric Nelson joined Coming of Age:Bay Area as Talent Coach where he works to connect people 50+ years of age to volunteer opportunities with local non-profits. Coming of Age is a non-profit with a mission to capture and utilize the energy and expertise of people age 50+ and use it as a force for social good. After seeing a career in advertising and marketing end in his mid-50′s, Eric used continuing education, volunteering and networking to transition into a non-profit job and in doing so became a prime example of how people over 50 can find new direction and employment in the second chapter of life.
"Nonprofits serving Bay Area Elders get boost": A KCBS radio interview with Coming of Age Program Manager Noreen McKeon on the 2012 "Make a BIG Difference" grants to local organizations.
A article featuring Coming of Age:Bay Area and funder NCPHS on the national program and the Bay Area's initiatives in working with "encore adults" and nonprofit organizations, and the newer program in Los Angeles.
From the Western Edition: a profile of Coming of Age member Brenda Lauer, who worked as a registered nurse and then as a volunteer for San Francisco's Clinic by the Bay.
From the Sunset Beacon, a profile of Coming of Age member and volunteer Ken Wong. Ken was involved in a number of programs, including a health education program that lead to a paid job.
“Exploring the Future, Discovering the Possibilities!” As an article in this publication for newcomers to the Bay Area points out, volunteering can be the perfect way to quickly get involved in local activities and connect with new friends.
Click HERE to see the online version of the magazine.
An AARP report on how Baby Boomers are finding new careers, becoming activists and making a difference in their communities.
Click HERE to read more.
Many factors point to a surge in second careers, and nonprofit groups from Boston to San Francisco (including Coming of Age) help older workers find new work.
USA Today, by Richard Wolf
January 31, 2011
Interview with Coming of Age:Bay Area's Megan McCarthy.
San Francisco Examiner, by Erin Sherbert
April 14, 2010