Those poignant words, penned by the American poet and novelist Thomas Bailey Aldrich, can serve as useful advice for anyone facing what can sometimes be a difficult transition into the later years of life.
In addition to providing us with a reminder of the importance of getting the most out of our “golden years,” they also wonderfully capture the essence of this month’s featured nonprofit partner.
As the premier resource of its kind in Middle Tennessee, FiftyForward is helping adults 50 years of age and older live longer and more meaningful lives by providing pathways to health, well-being, and lifelong learning.
Founded in 1956, the organization and its dynamic team of staffers, volunteers, and community partners offer an array of innovative services for older adults and their families, annually touching the lives of more than 20,000 people in our area.
At seven locations in Davidson and Williamson counties, FiftyForward runs hundreds of health and wellness programs for its members every year. The group offers courses in everything from fine arts and creative writing to yoga, Tai Chi, and general exercise classes to foreign languages, computers, ballroom dancing, and more. Performing arts opportunities are available through the unique Music for Seniors program, as well as in productions that the organization puts on at its own Larry Keaton Theatre. Members can also pack their bags and take advantage of FiftyForward Travel, which organizes trips both at home and abroad.
On the supportive care side, FiftyForward operates a Living at Home initiative. Designed for older adults who wish to maintain their independence while confronting health issues, the program helps those individuals and their caregivers get better access to the resources they need to live more safely and comfortably at home and ensure a better overall quality of life.
FiftyForward’s comprehensive programming creates many volunteer opportunities for those who are interested in helping the group fulfill its mission.
Adults 55 and older can volunteer through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Foster Grandparents initiative, or donate their time by tutoring K-4 students in reading and math through the Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) service. As tutor Mary Ann Wilson points out, opportunities like FLIP give older adults the chance to make a meaningful impact by sharing their knowledge with those who need it most:
“I began tutoring with FLIP when I retired in 2002,” she says. “(It) is one of the best and most rewarding volunteer efforts in which I participate. When I leave Inglewood School every Tuesday, I leave with a smile and a happy heart.”
Volunteers of all ages are also needed to help support FiftyForward’s daily work, including Meals on Wheels outreach , Adult Day Services, class instruction, and more. Those programs, as well as work at all seven FiftyForward locations, also provide great volunteer opportunities for groups.
Make sure to visit the FiftyForward website to find out more about the great work this important group does. Interested individuals can also directly contact FiftyForward team members to learn more about specific individual and group volunteer opportunities:
Meals on Wheels: Contact Sharie Loik at (615) 463-2264 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Day Services: Contact Heather Davis at (615) 463-2266 or email@example.com
FLIP: Contact Sandra Thomas at (615) 743-3422 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bordeaux Center: Contact Derek at (615) 248-2272 or email@example.com