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Your Life Calling

Miss the Kids?

5 great volunteer opportunities to help kids in need

En español | Whether you're a retiree looking for a new pursuit or an empty-nester eager to be around children again, you may find that working with young people can be an invigorating experience. Here are some great organizations that welcome 50-plus volunteers.

CASA

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) helps find safe homes for neglected children nationwide. As a CASA volunteer, you'll be paired with a child during the transitional period before he or she is placed in a permanent home. You'll research the child's case, help them understand the court process and lend an ear when he or she needs to talk. On average, CASA volunteers spend about 10 hours a month on a case. There are no specific educational requirements, but you must agree to a background check and complete a 30-hour training program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Being a Big Brother or a Big Sister requires just a few hours of your time each month, but as any "Big" will tell you, it's an endlessly rewarding experience. The "Littles" in the program already have legal guardians, but they're in need of an additional figure to help them explore interests and bring out their potential. It's a small time commitment, but it's often a life-changing experience.

Foster Grandparents Program

Senior Corps is a national organization that pairs people over 55 with service opportunities in their community. One of their main initiatives is the Foster Grandparents program, which links mentors with children in need of positive influence. Being a Foster Grandparent is time-intensive: some volunteers lend up to 40 hours a week. But it's a great way to cultivate a personal connection with children who are in need of your help.

YMCA

The Y provides a diverse array of volunteer opportunities for adults, and with branches in 10,000 communities nationwide it's a great way to get in touch with your community. Volunteer opportunities with the youth development initiative include coaching, teaching, fundraising and mentoring. Visit its website to see what's going on at your local branch.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Through programs in the arts, nutrition, sports and character building, the BGCA provides kids with the means for fulfilling their potential and developing the skills they need to succeed. In over 4,000 locations across the U.S., each local club has opportunities for volunteers, teachers, sponsors and more. Check its website or visit your community's club to see how you can get involved.

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