What would you do if after 33 plus years of working and developing a very fulfilling, successful career and business you were given the opportunity to do something else?
I’m only 55 years old. I can’t “retire.” I’m an “A type” personality; ambitious, competitive, work long days, strict schedules, disciplined. Honestly that’s who I am…and I like it. As the President and Owner of Vos Glass, Inc. I worked both for and with wonderful people. I was a part of the construction of some of the iconic buildings in the community. It was quite a ride, but I was ready for a new adventure. Honestly the company needed a new energy, ideas and leadership to continue its success for years to come.
About a year ago I took the unexpected opportunity to sell Vos Glass. It was the perfect storm; the right people, the right price and the right time to reinvent myself and my marriage. Yes, like my parents, my husband and I worked successfully together for years. We both “retired” together in April 2016.
Now I get to think and dream about what is next. Being this “A type” personality I began studying and developing a plan. Yes, of course life would now include golf, travel, reconnecting with family and friends. These where givens. But I knew there would be more for me.
- How can I best use this unbelievable situation?
- What is important in my life?
- What is life?
What I have come up with so far is that “life” is the ability and time we have to interact with and experience the world. Therefore, the most important things in this life to me are:
- Relationships- personal and spiritual;
- To live my purpose, values and dreams.
Why Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM)?
So where does MTM fit in this developing life’s journey of mine? Purpose was my original plan. Purpose; feel good, be good and do good. I could do good at MTM.
Call it divine intervention or just good timing. Mel Trotter Ministries was a customer of Vos Glass, Inc. for years. They had glass and glazing needs; broken windows and minor improvements that required our products and services. We donated what we could. The Vos Glass employees developed relationships with the MTM staff and witnessed firsthand the value of this organization. Each time we had a fundraising effort at work they would vote to donate to MTM. One day in early 2015, Dennis Van Kampen (CEO) and another MTM staff member visited me at the office and shared more of the MTM story. Shortly thereafter they asked my husband and I to get more involved with the Season of Hope fundraising event. We have done this now for two years. All roads where leading to MTM.
MTM is really a business. They are in the business of demonstrating the compassion of Jesus Christ toward the hungry, homeless and hurting of the greater Grand Rapids area. So I could help in the business operations, mentoring, assisting the staff and spreading the story of their good works. So I called Dennis and offer my services.
Volunteering in “Retirement” and its Surprising Benefits
The benefits of volunteering at MTM are enormous to you, your family, and your community.
Volunteering at MTM offers vital help to people in need, but there are also benefits for you, their volunteer too. Studies show that volunteering and helping others after retirement can:
- Keep you mentally stimulated
- Make you happy and gives you a sense of accomplishment
- Help you stay physically healthy
- Provide a sense of purpose
- Help you reduce stress, anger, anxiety and combat depression
- Provide an opportunity to learn new skills
- Provide an opportunity to meet new friends
While it is true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you will experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a full-time or long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help others those in need and improve your health and happiness.
“It gives me great happiness to know the organization I’m supporting with my time, skills and money have such a profound impact on so many lives.”
The MTM Happiness Effect
I look forward to my Tuesdays. This is my MTM workday and I get to “work” with my new friends, the staff at the mission.
Every other Tuesday I join in for “Meet the Mission” luncheons. Listening to the staff talk about the rescue and restoration services and hearing guests convey their struggles and then successes with the help of MTM is inspiring. I’ve learned to bring tissues. It gives me great happiness to know the organization I’m supporting with my time, skills and money have such a profound impact on so many lives.
“Volunteering at MTM is more than just filling a sense of purpose.”
To My Surprise
Volunteering at MTM is more than just filling a sense of purpose. It positively effects what is important to me.
- Health- keeps me active mentally and physically
- Relationships- keeps me connected in the community, new friends, spiritual reaffirmation
- To live my purpose, values and dreams- feel good, be good and do good.
Are you Retired? Semi-Retired? …or maybe just “reinventing” or “refreshing”?
Please join me, and share your time, talents, skills, and knowledge at Mel Trotter Ministries. Everyone benefits!
Linda Vos-Graham is the former President/Owner of Vos Glass, Inc. Currently, she serves Mel Trotter Ministries as the “Volunteer Ambassador”, where she is living out her purpose by sharing her time, talent, and knowledge.