Redefining Retirement: Giving Back Globally
After retiring from CPS in 2007 after a wonderful 17 years of teaching English at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Dory Domanowski took some time to sit back and enjoy reading, woodworking, knitting, and spending time with family. She even became a volunteer driver for the Ageing and Disability Resource Center, but wanted to do more. Like many retirees, travel was on her retirement bucket list, but she also wanted to travel with a sense of purpose.
Dory found the opportunity she was looking for through Worldwide Friends, an organization which offers volunteer opportunities with local communities and non-profit organizations and associations located in Iceland. She spent two weeks working in Hveragerdi, Iceland, at the NLFI Rehabilitation and Health Clinic, run by the Natural Health Association of Iceland. Every year approximately 2,000 patients and other guests enjoy their diverse rehabilitation programs.
Hveragerdi is in an area of intense geothermal activity that includes bubbling geysers and hissing steam vents. The geothermal activity makes greenhouse gardening possible and is the main industry in the region. Volunteers from Worldwide Friends help grow vegetables which are sold to help fund programming at the clinic. Completely out of her comfort zone, Dory was the only American on her mission and working in the greenhouse was something new for her – it proved both physically demanding and rewarding. She also had a week to explore the natural beautify of Iceland – an experience of a lifetime.
Dory said, “retirement brings you face to face with yourself and there is no reason you aren’t doing what is most important to you.” Her sage advice for retirees is to get out there and explore your passions (she suggests travel), right away.
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