Once we retire, many of us hope to pursue our passions and focus on the causes that matter most to us. Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can contribute your experience, time, and skills to the Jacksonville community. Whether it is nature and pets or literacy and learning, there are opportunities for everyone.
The Foster Grandparents Program through the City of Jacksonville gives older adults the chance to help children find their way at school and in life. Seniors are assigned to day care centers, private and public schools, and Head Start programs where they help children with special needs. Foster Grandparents even get an hourly stipend.
The Jacksonville Public Library needs volunteers for a broad array of tasks. They currently have a need for customer service assistants, adopt-a-shelf assistants, and people to put together props and maintain the appearance of the Children’s Area and Teen Area.
Duval County Public Schools, the school district that serves Jacksonville, is always in need of teachers and mentors. The district is supported by over 27,000 volunteers in a variety of positions, including a mentoring program that matches community volunteers with school-based mentoring to help with a wide range of needs, like life skills, college readiness, and goal setting. There is also a need for hall monitors, classroom assistants, guest readers, coaches for teams and clubs, class speakers, and more.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens needs volunteers to fulfill a number of roles. In some of the positions, you will work alongside zookeepers and assist with their exciting special events. As a volunteer, you will spend time teaching others about animals and the importance of conservation.
Pawsitive Pets is Jacksonville’s pet assisted therapy service. They are always in need of dog-owner teams to spend time sharing the healing, comfort, and connection of the human-animal bond in public libraries, hospitals, rehabilitation and assisted living facilities, schools, hospice, retirement communities, and more.
Another opportunity to work with animals is at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair. You can serve as a tour guide for the Barn Tours and Ag Venture Tours. There are also several educational agricultural programs that are always looking for volunteers.
You may not have many opportunities to put your green thumb to use when you live in a senior living community or apartment. Thankfully, your skills are sought after by a variety of local organizations. In addition to animal volunteers, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens also needs people to support the botanical gardens’ horticulture staff and to assist with the maintenance of the gardens.
The University of Florida runs a Master Gardener Program in Duval County, which consists of more than 180 Master Gardener Volunteers who share their gardening knowledge and experience at local schools, community gardens, local nurseries, and for local newspapers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jacksonville senior volunteer opportunities. Once you do just a little research, you are sure to find several ways to stay social and busy doing activities you enjoy.
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