Lights, Action … Volunteer at a Community Theater

Men in tuxedos and women in sparkly jackets mingle in the Green Room of the Little Theater of Alexandria (LTA) in Virginia. A pianist in the far corner plays show tunes on a baby grand piano while a small group sings “Hello, Dolly.” Other guests sip wine and nibble on artistically presented hors d’oeuvres. It’s opening night! The show: In the Heights. Jayn Rife only ushers on opening night now at the LTA and other theaters. “It’s just fun,” she …

Join the Celebration of Service in Honor of 9/11

In the chaos that followed the Sept. 11 attacks 14 years ago, some things came into exquisite focus. We suddenly knew what really mattered — our loved ones, our country, our heroes and the huge loss we had all just suffered. We came together, bonded by an urge to counteract an unspeakable act of violence with countless acts of kindness. Every year since, on Sept. 11, millions of volunteers across America recapture that spirit of unity by exercising the healing …

Showing Compassion Makes a Difference to the Homeless

The steps of the bank seems like a perfect place to sleep. Mark (not his real name) stretches across the concrete. His belongings, stuffed into a luggage cart and grocery bags, spill out around him. He snuggles under a blanket and adjusts his wool cap. The blanket, his fleece jacket, three sweaters and his long pants should keep him warm. Twenty feet away an electronic billboard displays the time and temperature: It is 1 p.m. and 80 degrees. Emily Powers, …

A Warm Atmosphere at a Hypothermia Shelter

Soft, melodic piano chords fill the sanctuary of the Church of St. Clement in Alexandria, Va., early one morning. I get up from my cot to investigate. A man is thoughtfully creating music on the church piano. He pauses between chords, listening, thinking. “That’s beautiful,” I tell him. “You must be a professional.” Yes, he was, the former hip-hop musician tells me. He continues, speaking softly, gesturing with his hands. “Creating music is like building with Legos. It’s all about building …

You’ve Got Skills You Can Use in Retirement

Some people aspire to retire at 60, 62 or 66, reducing the amount of their Social Security payment by 20 percent. Others are in it for the long haul, planning to work to 70 and beyond. Indeed, 1 in 5 older adults plan to work after 66. Where will they work? Some companies have mandatory retirement at 70 — or earlier. Others may make exceptions for highly skilled employees. As you consider retirement, review ways you can be of added value …

Helping to End Poverty, One Person at a Time

“What does the world need me to do?” When Mark Bergel, 51, asked himself that question, his answer was to start A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that provides everything from furniture to job training and clothing to support those in need. Now, 13 years later, Bergel, who serves as the organization’s executive director, is on a mission: End poverty in America. As I sort and fold donated baby clothes in the organization’s huge warehouse, Bergel, a 2014 CNN …