Everyone has their favorite season. Mine is fall. Summer is great, with its hot, dry days that beg for picnics and trips to the beach or river, barbecues, and camping. But as I sit here on Labor Day, I’m anticipating the fall with its cooler days, crisp nights, trees changing colors, fall fishing, football and days that don’t regularly reach into the 90s (I’m a “weather weenie”). Pews fill with the start of school.

Fall also reminds me that there are new personal ventures to take. I want to do something different — something that takes me out of my comfort zone, something that I can give while getting back. I think I’ve found it: volunteer as a class reader at the neighborhood grade school.

Volunteering benefits everyone involved. Mayo Clinic research shows that volunteers aged 60 and over report better physical and mental health than non-volunteers. In medical lingo, that “feel good” feeling comes from a release of dopamine, making us less anxious and stressed — two contributors to strokes and depression, especially for those over 65. We leave a volunteer activity with a sense of purpose that delivers higher self-esteem and sense of satisfaction from sharing our knowledge and/or physical effort. Indeed, Inc., an online-based career recruiting hub, reports that volunteering “…increases social interaction, social skills, and helps build a support network of new and existing friends who share a common interest.” Good stuff.

My wife occasionally says, “You know, everybody knows something.” How true. A dear friend, a recently retired human resources professional, has found a home with Dress For Success, an organization that empowers women to grow into financial independence through professional and personal support. Her advice is simply to choose something you’re passionate about, and look for a match with an organization you believe in. Love to read? Reach out to your local library branch or elementary school. Gardening? Parks and recreation departments. Animals? Humane Society and animal shelter. Sports? Call Sister Krista von Borstel at the CYO. You don’t need to be good at it, you simply need to have — and share — an interest in helping others. You’ll be surprised at the return.