STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- With close to 30 years experience working in human resources, Rita Jackson was forced to retire.

Not one to sit at home, Ms. Jackson seized an opportunity to share her wealth of "business smarts" with both budding and veteran entrepreneurs who need help starting or growing their businesses as a SCORE mentor since 2010.

"Being able to continue to use my business skills to help people even though I am officially retired, makes my involvement with SCORE so worth it," she said, noting she also serves as the board secretary.

"We're not here to tell business people what to do...We can give suggestions, advise them, and do more research for them. We guide them and try to help them make informed decisions for themselves."

Like Ms. Jackson, there are "scores" of volunteers across the country who serve as mentors to small business professionals free of charge and provide them with invaluable services that help them succeed.

In fact, this year marks the national SCORE's 50th anniversary. Today, a nationwide network of 13,000 working and retired business professionals from 354 chapters across the country, the organization provides assistance to approximately a half-million people each year.