In The Beginning

In Second Career Volunteer, Barbara Traynor describes her unique volunteer lifestyle in detail, the how-to and what-not-to, positives and negatives, pleasure and treasure. Living this lifestyle in retirement has afforded inside information and insight. In the newly published 2nd edition of her book, Second Career Volunteer, a passionate, pennywise approach to a UNIQUE lifestyle, she explains how this lifestyle is appropriate for Boomers, post/pre retirees, college grads looking for work, and others displaced from work due to the current financial crisis.  (Scroll down for partial A-Z Index.)

Since for many years, Barbara did not have the opportunity to travel, she prefers to leave her home for six months of the year, offering her skills to organizations throughout the U.S. Not all volunteers do this. Some volunteer for a few weeks, some a month, others longer. Discuss with the Volunteer Coordinator what would be best for you as a single, or you and your spouse/partner as a couple. When at home, she volunteers locally. It is her choice to change her lifestyle every six months. It is your choice to volunteer locally, or following her example, volunteer elsewhere for weeks, months, or longer. IT IS UP TO YOU!

New Orleans. Katrina home rehab.

In July, 2005, after working as an Administrative Assistant for over forty years, she retired. In August, she drove 8,000 miles to Alaska to volunteer at a private college. Since then, as a long-term, long-distance volunteer, Barbara has traveled – at her own expense – to Alaska, Florida, Arkansas, New Mexico, and in 2012, Alabama, volunteering for six-months-at-a-time to afford the maximum opportunity to see new places and meet new faces.

Organizations that offer free room and board welcome volunteers willing to exchange workplace/hobby skills for room and board. Translation: the volunteer pays travel expense; the organization provides housing and food. If three meals are not provided, perhaps a small stipend is offered. If you wish to fly, take a bus or plane, arrange beforehand with the Volunteer Coordinator to be picked up at a predetermined location. If you drive solo, as Barbara does, once at your destination, you are welcomed into a multicultural, multi-generational community of like-minded colleagues.

Yes, there is a work schedule. It is up to you to do the research to find your organization destination. You contact the Volunteer Coordinator. You discuss parameters: responsibilities, housing, food, supplies, expectations and goals of both parties.

This time of your life can be a time of respite from a lifetime of conforming to others needs and wants. Second Career Volunteer shows you how to be creative and compassionate during the years stretching into the future, whether it be for two or ten, while not breaking the bank.  Use the A-Z Index below to being your volunteer research (the complete Index is in the back of her book):

A-Z INDEX (partial):

NOTE: Current practice eliminates www. Each website has been personally researched.

To verify a charity or organization, SEARCH:

If you have a suggestion or know of an organization that should be added to this listing, go to the COMMENT tab and email Barbara.


AARP Nation’s largest aging organization. Volunteer, service, and employment programs; local or global.

ADMINISTRATION ON AGING Older American Act and aging network.

ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION Compassion to care. Local volunteers.

AMERICORPS Team based, national service initiative; ages 18-24, with no upper age limits. Three programs: AmeriCorps (State and National), AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).

AMIZADE Global service learning. Encourages intercultural exploration and understanding through community-driven volunteer programs at home/abroad.

ARNOLD’S WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER AND BUTTERFLY HAVEN Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Inc (AWRC), non-profit educational-based wildlife care facility, dedicated to awareness. No provide housing; local.

AUDUBON SOCIETY Conserve/restore natural ecosystems with focus on birds. Some room and board with host family. Check project costs/registration fees. Click: take action or Search for: volunteer.

BEST PLACES (ALSO SEARCH: Interactive site; housing during retirement options.

BIRD RESCUE (BIRD SANCTUARY) Starting point for bird rescue, rehabilitate, and release.


COUNCIL OF INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS (CIP) Council of International Programs USA (CIPUSA): non-profit international educational exchange program. Check costs.

CLEARWATER (HUDSON RIVER SLOOP CLEARWATER) Conducts environmental education/advocacy programs to protect the Hudson River. Volunteers serve one week on the sloop. Check costs.

COUCH SURFING Volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities who offer free accommodation and/or advice. Check costs.

CNVS Catholic Network of Volunteer Service: national membership organization of Christian Volunteer and mission programs. Website has search response directory.

CROSS-CULTURAL SOLUTIONS (ALSO SEARCH: ) International non-profit organization supporting local short-term projects. Check costs.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE (Note: must use to access appropriate website.)Site dedicated to improving health, safety, and well-being of all Americans. (Admin on Aging)

DISCOVERING WHAT’S NEXT Network of people and community organizations connects individuals 50+.

EARTHWATCH INSTITUTE Supports scientific field research by offering opportunities to join research teams home & abroad attempting to change how the public views the role of science in environmental sustainability.


EDWARD M. KENNEDY SERVE AMERICA ACT Expansion of AmeriCorps, a domestic service program, 10% are slots for volunteers over 55. Investigate fellowships; scholarships for continuing education. Affiliated with AARP.

EMPTY NEST MOMS A community of female empty nesters for networking and camaraderie.

ENCORE CAREERS (ALSO SEARCH: LIFE PLANNING NETWORK Purpose-filled careers in the second half of life.

EPISCOPAL PARTNERSHIP FOR GLOBAL MISSION (ALSO SEARCH: OURLITTLEROSES.ORG) Enables Episcopalians to participate in God’s global mission, domestic and foreign.

EXPERIENCE CORPS (SEE ALSO: EXPERIENCE WORKS.ORG) New adventures in service for Americans 55+.

FLY FOR GOOD Discounted airfare for volunteers.

GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITIONS Travel to remote and challenging destinations. Program costs.

GHOST RANCH (Also SEARCH: Affiliate of Presbyterian Church. Two locations: Ghost Ranch Conference Center in Santa Fe and Abiquiu, NM. Long/short term opportunities. Housing for long-term.

GLOBE AWARE Short-term programs in South America and Asia. Check costs.

GLOBAL GENIE Interactive site fostering global movement towards a just society dedicated to helping people find opportunity to undertake socially conscious travel. Click on “volunteer links” in menu.

GLOBAL SERVICE CORPS International Internship volunteer programs. Check costs.

GLOBAL VOLUNTERS Facilitates short-term (up to 24 weeks) service for community-dev programs in host communities abroad. Program fees/ costs.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL Non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization home and abroad. Check site for program/travel costs.

HAWAII RETREAT CENTER Hawaiian Oceanside retreat. One to three month commitment. Check costs/housing.

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL Non-profit organization working to end world hunger. Helps communities become self-reliant. Access site to complete volunteer application. Long and short term opportunities in MA and AR.

HUMANE SOCIETY Nations largest animal protection agency. Local opportunities.

IDEALIST Global clearinghouse of non-profit and volunteer resources. Project of Action without Borders, founded in 1995. Offices in the U.S. and Argentina. Interactive site.

JAARS Linguistics training school providing bible translation/literacy worldwide. Check costs.

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT Local hands-on experience to teach adolescents the economics of life; opens minds to potential.

LPN (LIFE PLANNING NETWORK) Community of professionals from diverse disciplines dedicated to helping people navigate the second half of life.

LITTLE ROSES MINISTRIES Headquartered in Honduras. Long/short term opportunities with housing. Check costs.

LOCAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES  Local/long-distance. SEARCH name of individual state.

MENAUL SCHOOL Also through Private secondary school; grades 6-12 for a socially and economically diverse student body. Long and short term opportunities.

MARINE MAMMALS …. MERRIN INSTITUTE Marine mammals and sea turtles of Delaware.

MILITARY Clip coupons for military families. Contact American Legion Auxiliary for clipping, organizing and mailing coupons to needy military families.

NATIONAL PARKS Interactive site. Drop-down menu. Complete forms/submit.

NATIONAL SENIOR SERVICE CORPS National Senior Service Corps engages 55+ and older in all fifty states.

OLDER WOMEN’S LEAGUE (OWL) Grassroots organization for women as they age. Stresses quality of life.

ORGANIC FARM VOLUNTEERS Short/long term opportunities working at more than 400 farms and homestead across the U.S. Possible room/board; no experience required. Research details. Membership costs.

OUR LITTLE ROSES San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

PEACE CORPS Federal agency devoted to world peace/friendship. Lengthy application process; 3 month orientation; 26-month commitment. Interactive site.

PET (PERSONAL ENERGY TRANSPORTATION) Help manufacture hand-cranked, three-wheeled, sturdy and maintainable wheelchair for those disabled by war or illness. Check personal cost involved.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Interactive site for local and long/short term volunteering. Search: volunteer.

REBUILDING TOGETHER Nonprofit to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities. Local.

RED CROSS Interactive site offering opportunities for long/short term volunteering. Check personal cost.

RED HAT SOCIETY Global society of women that supports and encourages women.

SALVATION ARMY Interactive U.S. and international site providing volunteer opportunities.

SEEDS Promotes environment protection; long/short volunteer opportunities. Check housing and costs.

SENIOR CORP OF RETIRED EXECUTIVES (SCORE) Association of retired local businessmen/women who consult with nonprofit/public service agencies.

SENIOR CORPS (Also Senior Corps) National network of projects to place “seniors” in local volunteer assignments.

SEW MUCH COMFORT Provides free adaptive clothing for unique needs of injured service members. Local and nationwide.

SIERRA CLUB Interactive site of the oldest, largest, environmental organization.

SIMPLY SMILES Mission work in Mexico. Access site for information on programs/costs.

STONY POINT CONFERENCE CENTER, NY Access: Presbyterian church affiliaate. Search: volunteer

SUNBOW FARM (OR) Organic farm utilizing local volunteers. Contact directly.

TRANSITION NETWORK (THE) TNN is a vibrant community of NYC women facing transition by taking control of their lives.

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST Partner with local agencies. Search: volunteer.

UNITED PLANET Interactive site offers unique short/long-term international volunteer programs. Check costs

USA FREEDOM CORPS Service opportunities to match individual interests and talents. National and community service.

VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER Allows contribution from “virtually anywhere”. People matched on-line.

VISTA An affiliate of AmeriCorps.

VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS AND LEARN A LANGUAGE British service organization combines volunteer work in developing aareas with classroom instruction in one of 18 languages. Check program/travel costs.

VOLUNTEER Investigative site for volunteer opportunities. Check costs.

VOLUNTER (ANYWHERE) IN A SPECIFIC PLACE W/HOUSING (place your destination in address line)Place the name of a U.S. state or foreign country within address line to access a site of interest.

VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS BOOK: options for volunteering abroad.

WOMEN TRAVELING ALONE Anxious about solo travel? Access this site.

WORK-CAMPING PT seasonal options at resorts, theme parks or towns. RVers welcome.

WORKAWAY INTERNATIONAL Recruitment company providing employment in the U.S.

WOWOWOW (Women on the Web)Manhattan based Executive Intern  program. Click on “Think Up!”.

WWOOF USA Organic farms. Check accommodations. Research individual project cost and location.

YMCA OF THE ROCKIES Affordable family and group destinations.  Variety of interests and skill levels.

——END partial …. see book for complete listing.