Making Your Voice Heard

By Teresa Iqbal

December 27, 2016 5 min read

The freedom of time, which comes along with retirement, can be both exciting and overwhelming as one sets off to determine just what to do with it. What seniors decide to do with their newfound time can be as little or largely impacting on others as they wish it to be. For those senior citizens who are looking for a particular important cause to invest their free time in, delving in to the world of political activism may prove to be both rewarding and inspiring. Fortunately, there are a number of ways by which seniors can easily become politically involved.

Elections are chaotic and busy processes that require the help of many members of any given community. There are thousands of polls around the country which must be managed, so poll workers are always needed and appreciated around election time. Manning the polls may be long work with many positions requiring shifts that begin early in the morning and end late at night. For seniors who are fluent in any language besides English, they may find that their services can be considered to be highly in demand at the polls. For seniors who are bilingual, it's recommended that they mention this fact when applying to become a poll worker so that their skills can be put to their best use in an area where there is a high rate of those particular language speakers. Bonus: many poll workers, while often technically considered volunteers, can expect to receive a small stipend for their services. Consider contacting the county where you live (often the managing entity for elections) to inquire about becoming a poll worker for an upcoming election.

Another option for seniors who wish to become politically active is to support a particular political party, candidate or cause by offering to volunteer to work at a phone bank. Phone banks are utilized by several groups focused on getting word out about a specific cause. They're especially well known for being used by political candidates and groups to reach out to the community and potential voters. For seniors who are enthusiastic about a particular cause or candidate, participating in a phone bank can offer an outlet for relaying that enthusiasm to others in their community for a number of purposes. For example, they may be used as fundraising tools to appeal to the public to assist in the given cause. They may also be used as an informational resource to the public to inform community members of the background information surrounding such a cause or candidate. The more passion that one has for their given cause, the easier the job will certainly prove to be.

With age comes an abundance of earned wisdom. Why not choose to share such wisdom with others? There are a number of organizations that are continuously searching for volunteers, mentors and helpers. There are so many different organizations that it would be difficult to not find one which can be used to reflect your political views. For example, if refugee settlement and aid is important to you, seek out organizations which strive to help refugees settle in their new country and cope with their recently changed lives, such as the American Refugee Committee. If women's rights are an important concern of yours, then perhaps consider seeking out an organization that reflects such views where your knowledge, skills or passion can be put to good use, such as with the League of Women Voters.

For seniors wishing to share their gained wisdom with their communities in a different capacity, there is arguably no greater direct impact that they can have on a community than running for office themselves. There is a number of local leadership positions that may become available at any time and which may appeal to just about anyone. For example city council and school board positions can be realistically obtained by even the average citizen. This holds especially true when it comes to seniors, who may have a large amount to offer to the public with several years of experience and wisdom often behind them.

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