With 25 years of volunteering under his belt, 93-year-old Norm Serra calls himself a “professional volunteer” – and understandably so. Two days a week, he volunteers for different UCLA Health departments, including its Spiritual Care office and UCLA Health 50-Plus program. On other days, you will find him delivering for Meals-on-Wheels or at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, where he’s been active for more than 50 years.
Norm, who has lived in the Palisades for 60 years and received his degree in mechanical engineering from UCLA in 1951, retired from the aerospace industry almost 30 years ago. He loves spending time with his children and grandchildren, all of whom live nearby, but wanted to do more than relax during retirement.
“I love the feeling of accomplishing something every day. Volunteering is a great opportunity to improve yourself, others and our whole society,” he says. “I also meet wonderful people of all ages and have a lot of fun.”
Norm’s motto is, “the difference that you’ll make in someone’s life will make an even bigger difference in yours.”
His advice for those who have never volunteered? “Don’t be shy! There are few, if any, organizations that will turn down free help.” He recommends finding an organization that matches your passion. To do so, he suggests asking friends or family members, calling the organization or looking online.
Does Norm have any other advice to help older people enjoy their later years?
“Have an attitude of gratitude, show concern and compassion for others, stay busy, spend time with family and, of course, take a nap when you’re tired.”