Since ending his 34-year
career as a weapons
engineer, Neil Adams,
65, has lived and vol-
unteered at ten U. S.
national parks and
historical sites. It’s
his dream retirement,
and he says he’s getting
quite an education. “I’ve
learned more in the past
four years being out here
than from all the books
I read in my first 60,”
says Adams, who’s done
everything from lectur-
ing about alligators to
leading tours. He’s now
at Fort Caroline National
Memorial Park in Jack-
sonville, Florida. “People
think you’re a ranger, so
when you tell them you’re
not, they’re amazed at
how much you know.”
Cool Ways to Give Back
You can lend a hand...or your experience...or your passions, to help make
a difference. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere these days.
Here’s a fun sampling to get you inspired BY MICHELLE DIAMENT
Make a soldier smile •How it works Send upbeat letters or packages to a deployed member
of the U.S. Armed Services. Or work
with friends and family to send packages to several service members at
once. (Hint: beef jerky and homemade
cookies are always a hit.) •Time it takes A few hours each month for up a year. •Contact My Soldier (914-323-5172; mysoldier.com).
Protect a natural treasure •How it works Pick among the near- ly 400 parks and historical sites run
by the National Park Service. Then
sign up for one of more than 175,000
opportunities—from counting rare
birds to working at a visitor center. •Time it takes As little as a few hours or can be an ongoing commitment. •Contact National Park Service (nps .gov/gettinginvolved).
Get in the kitchen and cook •How it works Help low-income families learn to cook more nutritiously. If you’re a culinary master or a
licensed nutritionist, lead a class. Otherwise, become a class assistant and
help with food prep and other tasks.
•Time it takes Two-hour class ses- sions once a week for six weeks. •Contact Share Our Strength (800- 969-4767; strength.org).
Inspire a middle schooler •How it works Serve up the low- down on finance, gardening, rocket
science—whatever your expertise
may be—and expose disadvantaged
students to career possibilities. •Time it takes An afternoon of train- ing, followed by classes that meet for
90 minutes a week for ten weeks. •Contact Citizen Schools (617-695- 2300; citizenschools.org).
PHOTOGRAPH Y BY JOHN HUBA