Steve Schroeder, Rockwell Collins retiree, shared why he became a volunteer with the 55+ Initiative.
How did you hear about 55+ Initiative? Why did you join?
When I retired from Rockwell Collins in December 2015, I wanted to continue to give of my time and talents to help others. I knew about RCRV from former coworkers, and decided to attend some weekly meetings. It was surprising how many people I knew there. During the first few meetings, I heard about other volunteer opportunities with WRAP and Options of Linn County. I jumped in, and the rest is history.
Each volunteer opportunity is unique and personally rewarding:
- RCRV (Rockwell Collins Retiree Volunteers): Fix broken projects
- WRAP (Wheelchair Ramp Accessibility Program): Designer/Builder
- Matthew 25: House renovations
- Habitat for Humanity through St. Pius Church 3rd Tuesday working group: Builder
- CR Noon Lion’s Club: Vision Co-Director and KidSight Vision Screening for kids
- Options of Linn County: Designer/Builder including raised vegetable garden and bowling ball ramp
- St. Paul’s United Methodist Church: Thrift Mart, choir member, men’s choir member, handbell choir member
What would you say to others considering 55+ Initiative?
Just do it! When you volunteer, your focus changes from what can I do for me to what can I do for others. When you see the excitement of a person in a wheelchair who now has accessibility in and out of their house, a family moving into their new home, or a child who can see more clearly with glasses, you know all your hard work helped someone else. It brings a smile to your face.
I found out I didn’t need to know everything to be a volunteer. I just needed to take the first step to commit my time. Once I did, other volunteers welcomed me and taught me how I could volunteer in other areas. I'm continuing this cycle by mentoring and inviting others who don’t currently volunteer to join me on a project or two.
What does volunteering mean to you?
I'm thankful I'm able share my time and talents to help others. I initially volunteered in multiple areas, assuming I would narrow my focus to one or two areas. That didn’t happen! Each opportunity is unique and I enjoy each opportunity. I found last year zoomed by for me, driven by volunteering and other activities.