CHAPTER 12Girl Power

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Carol Nash, Bernadette’s House

When Carol Nash retired seven years ago from Dimensions Healthcare System in Maryland after a long career in the nursing profession, she had no clue that she would soon be working harder than she ever did.

But Nash, now 74, is okay with that. “I burn with a passion for what I am doing,” she says. “If I can make the difference in the life of one child, then I believe I have fulfilled a purpose here.”

In 2012, Nash founded a small nonprofit, Bernadette’s House (bernadetteshouse.org), based in Laurel, Maryland. The organization provides early intervention and prevention services through an afterschool mentoring program for girls 8 to 17 at risk of teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, or failing in school. “Helping people is what I’ve done my entire life,” she says. “I guess I’m not really retiring.”

Research from Encore.org, a nonprofit, shows that interest in starting a nonprofit between the ages of 50 and 70 has nearly doubled over the last three years, says Marc Freedman, founder of Encore.org and author of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. “It’s the combination of an upsurge in encore careers – second acts focused on the greater good – and the rise in boomers embracing entrepreneurship,” he said.

There are those with a singular focus, like Nash, who are driven by personal life experience. ...

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