As she approached her 49th birthday, Amy Yontef-McGrath found herself in a bit of a funk. She loved her job as a stay-at-home mom for the past two decades. But her children were getting older and starting to leave the nest. And it was clear that she needed something new. “I needed to shake-up my life” is how she put it.

In a stroke of creative genius, she came up with “Follow Me To Fifty,” a year-long journey to complete fifty public service projects and write about the experience in a blog — all in advance of her 50th birthday.

She started by kayaking in and removing plastic bottles and other waste from a local river. She helped a refugee family relocate in their new home. She served as food coordinator for a local food bank. She placed American flags on the graves of war veterans on Memorial Day. She participated in a “democracy bootcamp” program to encourage voter registration.

And for the final 50th project she flew to California and took at 50 mile long walk along the Pacific Coast Highway.

On April 29, 2019, she was honored as “Volunteer of the Year” by the Montgomery County (MD) Volunteer Center.


Second Act Stories is a podcast that shares the stories of people who have made major career changes to pursue more rewarding lives in a second act. You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, GooglePlus or wherever you get your podcasts.



Published: May 23, 2019

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