7 Volunteer Services That Improve Your Self Esteem

volunteer services

No skill is too small to help others. There is probably a huge reserve of hidden talents in all of us, waiting to be tapped and channelized for a worthy cause. Government authorities and NGOs try their utmost to help those in need. But what can women of 40+ do to make our society a better place to live?

Helping others to have a better life can be a very fulfilling experience. It gives the helper a sense of well-being, a feeling of doing something nice for others. That’s why volunteer services improve self esteem and confidence.

Here are a few ideas…

Assisting senior citizens

Senior citizens are going through a very difficult phase in life. They are not so physically active nor are they confident enough to do even the small routine tasks on their own. Many times they are in old age homes and just want someone to chat with. Assisting senior citizens to use computers, going shopping with/for them, meeting them occasionally for a long chat, reading to them, playing chess, scrabble, bridge, rummy, etc are some of the activities. Just one hour of free time is all that’s needed.

Mentoring children

Mentoring a child would involve a little more time and a small expense as compared to seniors. You can mentor a child’s school education till he/she is able to earn a living. You can either teach the child or pay for tuitions. The aim here is to hone the existing talents of the child for financial independence. This activity would also include (in most cases) cost of basic necessities like food and clothing till they reach the age of 18 years.

Collection drives

What happens to the leftover food after a party, marriage, christening, and other social events? Are you aware that there are food banks in most major cities and towns across the globe? If you Google search you will find the nearest community volunteer services in your city. Just ring them up once the party is over and their representatives will collect the leftover food to distribute among the poor while it is still edible. In a similar way there are NGOs collecting old clothes, blankets, woollen garments, footwear, etc for the poor. You can register as a volunteer with the NGO as a collection point.

Working with animal shelters

animal rescue shelter

If you are fond of animals lending a hand at an animal rescue shelter can be a pleasure. Shelters are notoriously short-handed and every offer of help is welcome. Look around for the nearest shelter and offer your help at least on weekends. The benefit is threefold – you experience the joy of assisting helpless/wounded animals, the shelter get additional help at no cost, and the animals have more people looking after them.

Free vocational training

Everyone is not cut out for a formal education. The challenge is in identifying the latent talent in a destitute child and converting it into a small business. For example, you can teach a child to make soft toys, gift wrapping, painted stationery, baskets, etc. These can then be sold for cash so that the child learns to earn through art and craft. Become a vocational training volunteer and help the child to attain dignity in life.

Counselling children/teenagers

Many NGOs need volunteers for counselling the youth in situations like school dropouts, substance abuse, violent behaviour, emotional distress, depression, children with special needs, etc. You can conduct activity-based workshops for positivity, so that their minds are diverted from the cause of their distress. You can organize activities like sports, dance, music, dramatics, etc which help to improve the mood and encourage positive thinking.

Medical volunteering

This does not mean you need medical knowledge. Medical volunteering involves two types of activities:

  • Spending time with and counselling terminally ill cancer patients,
  • Activities like administration and computing, public relations, fund raising, organization of awareness drives, etc.

One such organization that has done really good work in the field of cancer treatment and support is the non-profit organization Max Foundation.

There is a phase in everyone’s life when you are fed up with the sameness of the office-home routine. When the mind becomes restless to do more, that’s the time to bring forth your hidden talent and use it for a social cause through volunteer services.

Using Hobbies For Charitable Causes

If you are a homemaker with a lot of free time or you are a retiree, there are some unique ways to use hobbies for charitable causes. Here are some ideas that will help you to socialize more, aid others and spend your time fruitfully:

Imparting Free Education


When you read the statistics given by UNESCO you will be horrified at the percentage of illiterate youth around the world. Nearly 67 million children across the globe do not have the benefit of a school education. But there are NGOs (Non Government Organizations) in most nations that deal with children’s education. You can work as a volunteer and teach the children whichever subject you enjoy teaching.

Yarn crafts for charity


Knitting and/or crochet projects sounds more like a fancy hobby. But when you knit or crochet blankets, shawls, monkey caps, rompers, cardigans, etc for the poor or underprivileged; the activity becomes more meaningful.



If you are fond of outdoor activities there is a plethora of volunteer work you can participate in:

  • Helping out at a departmental store during the festival rush,
  • Helping at a fund raising cultural/sports event,
  • Socializing at the nearest home for senior citizens,
  • Mentoring an underprivileged student (actually tutoring at home),
  • Helping at church events,
  • Spending time with terminally ill patients,
  • Providing free goodies for poor children/adults.

Making funeral arrangements for the poor using your organizational skills


This may sound morbid but here’s the harsh truth – there are many people in the world who can’t afford a decent funeral and coffin for their departed ones. In their time of bereavement a helping hand even from a stranger would be most welcome. If you are good at organizing things, you can use that talent and make funeral arrangements on behalf of a grieving family.

Making toys from recycled materials


Making toys is fun. It is a unique art. But making toys from recycled (throw away items) materials is even better. It serves many purposes:

  • It reduces trash,
  • It hones your creative and artistic skills,
  • It gives you pleasure and keeps you occupied,
  • It gives your fingers and hands exercise,
  • It gives pleasure to the children who receive free toys.

You can make toys with any throw away items like packaging material (bubble wraps, thermocol or cardboard boxes), leftover cloth, tins, bottles or plastic. These toys can be given away in charity.

None of the activities mentioned above will cost you much money. They are cheap to indulge in. Yet it will mean a better and happier life for someone if you utilize one of your hobbies for charitable causes.

Investment Advisory Services – Lucrative Hobby No.4


financial advisor 1

Once children grow up and they are busy with their own activities most women find themselves at a loose end. A microenterprise in investment advisory services is a great way to earn extra money. You can earn a very good income without leaving the comfort of your home.

Who is an investment advisor?

Market analysis

An investment advisor or financial advisor is a professional who studies the stock markets, banking, insurance plans, mutual funds, etc and gives others advice on where to invest their savings.

Most people are unaware of all the different investment options available to the public. And more importantly they find it difficult to decide which would be the most profitable one.There are many companies dealing in investment advisory services, but everyone cannot afford their fee. You, as a homemaker, do not have any office expenses and can offer similar services purely on commission basis without charging a fee for advisory services.

How much can you earn?

financial advisor 3

A freelance financial advisor can earn anything between INR 1,80,000/- and 15,00,000/- or more in a year.  This income in generated through commissions on selling investment options to clients and through profit sharing. Also, when you bring big investments for a particular finance company; the company will offer you a huge annual bonus as an incentive for product-loyalty. In the US the estimated minimum income of an investment advisor is about 33,000 USD, which is pretty good for a home based business.

Regulations to become a financial advisor

financial advisor 2

Every country has its own regulatory authority that defines requisite qualifications and re-qualification of an advisor. To start your little microenterprise of investment advisory services you will need some basic qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in finance (mandatory only in some countries),
  • Insurance advisor’s certification (required everywhere),
  • Mutual Fund advisory certification (mandatory everywhere).

In India, you need to pass one test for insurance through any registered insurer. And you also have to qualify for the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) test. To renew your license as a registered advisor you have to requalify every five years. A bachelor’s degree is not mandatory.

These certifications will give you basic knowledge of accounting, risk management, financial planning, tax-saving options and accounting. You also get training in marketing techniques so that you succeed in your microenterprise.

After the certification, it is time to register your name as a freelance financial advisor on Freelancer.com and Upwork.com so that people are aware of your micro business. Of course, you must also advertise through your relations, friends and all your social media profiles.

If you want to earn from the comfort of your home, this is one of the most money-making options from the long term perspective. If you are a homemaker working for extra cash these certifications are sufficient.

But if you want to chuck your existing job to become a full time financial advisor, then additional certification as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) will come in very handy. This will give you more input on how to run a successful microenterprise in investment advisory services.  Also, the earnings will be enough so that you don’t regret leaving your previous employment.


Elegant woman

As hobbies go, personal grooming classes would be real fun. Your well-groomed appearance will be your own advertisement. Just spread the word around among your relations and friends that you will be conducting classes at home.

If someone requires advice and assistance with their personal grooming, they are obviously doing something wrong. But a teenager or woman may also need advice on grooming just to look different, not necessarily because they look shabby.


Most women neglect their appearance because they do not have time for themselves with work, home, and family responsibilities. Some teenagers are too tied up with college and sports/social activities to give due attention to their appearance. Lack of grooming shows in the form of:

  • Overused and faded clothes,
  • Untidy hairstyle,
  • Collars and sleeves that show wear and tear,
  • Untreated skin patches,
  • Torn stockings,
  • Un-ironed clothes,
  • Mismatched outfits,
  • Dirty and shapeless finger & toe nails, etc.


Every prospective student will require a customized grooming package. But here are some general guidelines for the curriculum:

Chapter 1 – Face

The first thing that people notice is the face. A clear complexion will create a good impression. This should be handled in two ways:

  1. Skin care advice by skin type for long term effect, like the appropriate use of sunscreen lotions, moisturizers, cleansers, toners, etc.
  2. Method to use concealers and corrective makeup.

Advice them about adequate water intake and proper sleep cycles too.

Chapter 2 – Hair

Tackling the hair problem is a three or four step process. You have to teach:

  • How to shape eyebrows to suit the face,
  • Removing unwanted hair for a smooth skin,
  • Washing and conditioning hair at regular intervals,
  • Getting their roots touched up regularly for a smart appearance.

The hairstyle would depend on the shape of the face. One rule will not fit all. Whether the student is an undergrad, working professional or a homemaker; she will need a shoulder-length low-maintenance hairstyle.

Emphasise the cardinal rule of elegance – never style, comb, scratch, brush or tie up your hair in public.

Chapter 3 – Body posture

Postures and gestures are also observed by people around you. Smooth movements look more elegant than jerky and rough actions.

Slouching is very, very bad. The grooming course should include a basic exercise routine that the students need to follow in order to develop a slim, well-toned body. A good posture also helps to eliminate common problems like headaches, listlessness and back ache.

Here’s an idea – add a few sessions of ballet dancing as part of the personal grooming class.

Chapter 4 – Nails

Dirty nails give the impression that the person is slipshod by nature. Teach your students easy home manicure and pedicure. Give them tips on which kits to buy and which colours would suit their personality the best.

Chapter 5: Makeup

Corrective makeup is used to hide skin blemishes for a well groomed look. Smudgy makeup will surely defeat the purpose. Teach some light-toned makeup for the day time and a little bolder makeup with eyeshadow and glitter for the evenings.

Chapter 6: Dress

Dressing well is in intrinsic part of being well groomed. Wearing well tailored outfits makes a huge difference. Coach each student individually on what suits their shape, age, personality the best.

If being well groomed is part of your basic nature, why not bring your knowledge to good use? Start personal grooming classes at home at the weekends. You will help those in need of a boost to their self esteem and make some extra money on the side.

Doodle Fruit Games 2016 by Google – Fruit Fun For Kids


Doodle Games 2016 2 Doodle Games 2016

Ever seen a company that cashes in on current events, makes life fun and leaves a subtle message – that eating fruits is a good thing? As usual Google leads, with the Doodle Fruit Games 2016 which was just launched yesterday. The game coincides very neatly with the scheduled Rio Olympic Games.

A preview of the game is available on YouTube at:


The game starts with a bang, with strawberry rushing to finish the race.  The jumpy coconut, lemony lemon, and prickly pineapple are all waiting to block the strawberry’s progress. A grape is green with envy and the Blueberry is swinging in excitement. The big, big Watermelon is rolling after the little strawberry in hot pursuit! Do you think the strawberry will make it?

Kids will surely have a fruit salad with the strawberry on top, won’t they? Why not download it from App Store and find out? The app is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices.

Info courtesy: https://www.google.com/doodles/2016-doodle-fruit-games-day-1




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Since you are reading this post, obviously you are a foodie and love cooking. This is second post in the series of lucrative hobbies. We have already seen how amateur photography, can become a profitable side business. If you consider cooking to be fun, then a home based catering service is the perfect way to earn a little extra on the side. But here we go one step ahead…we shall see how a hobby can turn into a full time business.



Let me tell you what Radhika, my friend did. She was working as a software engineer in a mid-cap IT company, earning a reasonably good income. She saw how most of her colleagues craved for homemade food. Living in PG accommodation and eating in restaurants day and night can really make one homesick. So she decided to start a catering service stage by stage.

Stage 1:

catering 3

Radhika spread the word among her colleagues, relations, friends and neighbours that she would take party orders at weekends for a small group of 6-12 people. Meanwhile, she also planned some menus. Since she always cooked her own meals she was able to calculate an approximate cost per person. Adding a little extra for home delivery, she arrived at a quote that was really affordable. She began experimenting with different types of cuisine and offered variety.


Meanwhile, she enrolled for culinary arts class for two hours a week. Here she learnt salad decorations and presentation of different dishes. She realised that people evaluate a dish with their eyes before they are willing to taste it. So presentation is king in the catering business.

Stage 2:

As her orders increased she needed help. Sometimes she would have multiple orders over the weekend. Some clients asked for customised dishes. Add this to her regular job; and she was obviously finding it difficult to cope with the pressure.

Easy solution – she roped in a couple of college students living nearby to help her with tedious tasks like chopping, grating, grinding, etc for a reasonable fee. They were happy to earn some pocket money and she was happy to have help. Besides, they brought in more business.

Stage 3:

catering 7

Now Radhika decided that she had a sufficiently large client-base to sustain her catering service over a long time. So she chucked her regular job and decided to go full time into catering. But party orders were still limited to weekends. So she started providing tiffins or lunch boxes on weekdays too.


Radhika was operating her catering business from home but she had a full time staff of two helpers in the kitchen and a delivery boy to carry the tiffins over to numerous clients each day. Earlier, it was just a small lucrative hobby. Now it was time for legal compliance.

catering 2

She looked up on Google and read the local **Health Department’s regulations pertaining to licenses for small businesses. One of the requirements of the Department was inspection of the place where the food is stored and cooked, and also how it was packed and delivered.

catering 1

Once she had complied with the legal requirements, it was time to focus on business expansion. Networking is another aspect that is very important when you are running your own business. So Radhika never missed a party. In fact, she did this right from the start. She attended and monitored the service at every party. In that process she met more potential clients.

The proof of her success is in the fact that she now needs a full time accountant as well! Radhika’s part time hobby of providing catering service had turned into a full-fledged small scale business. I won’t be surprised if she branches out into corporate catering. If she can do it, so can you…

**Before you decide to go full time, please remember to comply with the local government regulation pertaining to a small scale catering service.



amateur photography

Everyone’s been praising your vacation pictures and selfies. Why not turn this talent of amateur photography into something lucrative? You don’t need to leave your regular job to pursue a small side business at weekends. Just use your imagination, a little bit of creativity and slowly you will be a pro.


Make a list of all your relatives, their relatives, friends and their friends. There! You have a good number of potential clients to showcase your talents. The next thing is a good camera. Your mobile phone camera will not give a really professional touch to the photos.

DSLR camera

It will be profitable to invest in a DSLR camera of a good brand. A super-fast camera with auto focus capability is all you need. Many brands are available at prices as low as $55. Check out some at the National Camera Exchange site. Once you are done with the photo shoot give it to a nearby photo studio for creating a CD or video as per the client’s choice.


wedding photography

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY – The best place to start your part time career as an amateur photographer is by offering to take pictures of weddings, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries, school/college social or sports events, etc. Spread the word amongst your relations and friends that you are willing to take pictures of events for a reasonable fee. For sports events you will require a tripod to place the camera for better results so don’t venture into it at the start.


PORTFOLIO CREATION – This requires a little more creative skills than clicking at functions. Portfolios are usually required by aspiring models or actors. They want to portray a particular image of themselves. They are banking on your photos to launch their careers. So if you are up for the challenge, go ahead and create some wonderful photo albums (portfolios) for those young aspirants among your acquaintances.

Product 1

PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY – Photographing products is the exact antithesis of portfolios. Creativity steps aside for technical skills of the photographer. You should practice a bit at home with different home appliances for shadow effects and angles. It’s a bit like still life sketching.

Products can be anything from food and beverages, consumer durables, metal products, electronics and peripherals, garments, gardening, etc. You will have to take a call on the best way to project the image of the product. How does the seller want to portray the product and who are his potential customers? The pictures must appeal to the targeted buyers.

portraits 1

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY – This is different from portfolios. Both types of photography involve some knowledge of light-shadow effects, profiles, postures, etc. But portraits are usually close-ups. There is no room for even the slightest error. Of course, you can download Adobe Photoshop and tweak the images a bit. But if you want to improve your talent as a photographer, use this option only at the start of your part time career.


There is no standard fee when you are just starting out as an amateur photographer.  Ask around and find out how much others are charging and offer a competitive rate. You can throw in a freebie in the price – something like a printout of their favourite image with lamination.

Amateur photography can be the most enjoyable and lucrative hobby for a woman of 40 plus. It also gives you an opportunity to make new friends and lead a more fulfilling life. Life is more than just 9-5 weekday drudgery. Now you have something special to look forward to every weekend, and earn from it too. So go ahead and click, click, click…

Stress Buster Artistic Hobbies For Women Of 40 Plus

Art 1 collage

One doesn’t have to be a Barbara Kruger or Eileen Agar to indulge in art. At 40plus, most women experience additional stress caused by hormonal changes. If neglected, this could lead to other health issues like hypertension or diabetes, obesity, etc. To prevent this downward trend, here are some interesting ideas in stress buster artistic hobbies for women of 40+:

Sketching – Pencil drawing is one of the easiest artwork to try. This hobby requires very little investment. Purchase a few sheets of white A-4 size paper and a couple of pencils, erasers and pencil-sharpener. Google search for images of pencil sketches. Try out a few at weekends. Once you have a steady hand and can get the shapes right, you can purchase different pencils for different shading.

Painting – Watercolours, a few brushes and paper is all you will need. Paint brushes of varying sizes are available so you can pick a few as your hobby develops into a regular pastime. From scenery to modernistic, you can paint to your heart’s content. This is one of the best stress buster artistic hobbies and is for your own pleasure.

MosaicMaterials for mosaic include marbles and/or glass pieces, adhesive and cutters. Like most other artistic hobbies, you can give a full reign to your imagination and create beautiful mosaic designs. Here’s a great idea – try out mosaic art on tiles. These can be glued to decorate bare walls, entrances, doors, bathrooms, or just used as a decorative.

Crochet – Where is the art in needlework? Of course there is! You can make the most artistic lace with a crochet hook and fine thread. The size of a crochet needle will depend on the thickness of the thread you are using is. Before buying, check out what size needles you really need.

Bead weaving – Design your own jewellery by stringing coloured beads on nylon twine. Once you have got the hang of it, make mobile covers, clutch bags, handbags, etc – the choice is unlimited.

Artistic hobbies are just what we need to pass the time on boring weekends. These ideas of stress buster artistic hobbies are cheap and do not involve vigorous physical effort. They are easy to learn and easy to sustain over a long period. Be creative…