Volunteers 55+ Are Meeting Critical Needs; Are Powerful Resources For Communities

Senior Corps Week – May 19-23 – honors Senior Corps volunteers for “Making A Difference for Generations” and encourages more communities to harness the talent and skill of American 55+
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The Corporation for National and Community Service is joining with organizations across the country to honor the powerful impact of Senior Corps volunteers and encourage more Americans 55+ to serve their communities through the fifth annual Senior Corps Week, taking place May 19-23.
For more than four decades Senior Corps volunteers have used their lifetime of skills and experience to meet community needs. Today more than 500,000 volunteers age 55+ provide 98+ million hours of service estimated to be worth more than $2 billion through Senior Corps’ three programs – Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP. “At a time of increased need and declining resources, volunteers age 55 and over are stepping in to fill in the gaps,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Today, more than ever, communities need the talents and skills of all Americans to help move this nation forward. Senior Corps volunteers are delivering enormous social and economic benefits to our communities and demonstrating that service is good for the nation and those who serve.”
In addition to helping others, older volunteers are also helping themselves by living active, healthy lives through volunteering. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression and fewer physical limitations. With nearly one in every five Americans projected to be age 60 or older by 2030, a great opportunity exists to engage older Americans in service to meet critical community needs while contributing to longer healthier lives.
Last year, nearly 600 volunteers provided over 262,502 hours of service throughout 15 countries in North Florida making a difference in the lives of more than 15,000 individuals. Frail elders received assistance from Senior Companions to remain independent in their homes; young people received tutoring and mentoring from Foster Grandparents that improved their academic performance, self-esteem and overall social behavior; and families received food and housing assistance from retired and senior volunteers that improved their quality of life.
With the theme “Making a Difference for Generations,” Senior Corps Week highlights the powerful impact of 55+ volunteers and inspires others to get involved. The initiative recognizes that service by older Americans benefits everyone – it helps volunteers by keeping them active, healthy and engaged; it helps our communities to have millions more skilled volunteers; and it helps our nation by saving taxpayers dollars and strengthening civic participation.
On Friday, May 16, Elder Care Services honored its Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents and RSVP volunteers during this year’s 2014 Emancipation Celebration sponsored by Smith-Williams Community Center and the city of Tallahassee Parks & Recreation. Festivities started at 10 a.m., at Tom Brown Park and include a fishing tournament and cookout for people over 55.
Throughout Senior Corps Week, please take a moment to honor the remarkable SCP, FGP and RSVP volunteers serving in our community.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Elder Care Service, Inc., at (850) 921-5554 or visit ecsbigbend.org.
Senior Corps is Federally funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and sponsored locally by Elder Care Service, Inc., a United Way Agency.
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