Volunteer Jobs Can Launch Paying Careers: Behind the Scenes


I’m getting all sorts of rave reviews of my recent article in The Beacon Newspaper’s April, 2012 issue!

Truth is…the article practically wrote itself.

I had been bumping into all sorts of people over the past year who transformed their volunteer work into paid work.  Researching the article only led me to an increasing number of people who had experienced the same phenomenon.

All of them had great stories and great enthusiasm for their organization and their work.   And each person explained how their journeys unfolded in an almost automatic manner.

Here are snapshots of some of the other people who were quoted in the article:

Abby Levin (left) and Nancy Cooper were effusive in their praise of each other and of their employer, the Jewish Council for the Aging in Rockville, MD.  Abby was the first to transfer from volunteer to part-time paid status, followed by Nancy a couple years later.  Their only regret:  since they work on different days, they hardly get to spend any time together except for an occasional luncheon or training seminar!


Joy Belew (right), the community relations manager for the DC branch of Options for Senior America, was prompted to volunteer while addressing her son’s special learning needs.   That led her to her church as a volunteer, and then eventually to other types of senior caregiver situations.   My favorite quote of hers:  “Don’t be tied to what you’ve done in the past.  Ask yourself, ‘What are the fundamental skills that I have?”



Lester Strong (left), of AARP Experience Corps was the most impassioned advocate of volunteering of all.    The interesting thing is, he only had planned to take a 5-year absence from being a TV anchorman.   His volunteer experience with an organization devoted to yoga and meditation ended up giving him a CEO position and ultimately changing the course of his life and career.


So where does all these tales of volunteer experience leave us?   Basically, never underestimate your volunteer experiences, and always be aware of the skills you have accrued throughout your life and be adventurous on applying them to new situations and areas.   You absolutely never know where they might lead.

And for me personally, writing this article demonstrated to me that you never know where an article might lead…in this case to fascinating people who inspire with their stories and enthusiasm.

About Brian Greenberg

I'm a freelance technical, educational, promotional and features writer. I have decades of experience writing a wide variety of publications...written products that achieve the goals of my clients and IMPACT their bottom line. My primary clients have been large and small non-profit organizations, especially national educational and service programs. I also privately tutor individuals in writing skills. In my free time, I volunteer reading for the blind, write articles for a local radio station's monthly publication, swim, bike, run, travel and go to the movies!
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