According to the federal government's Administration on Aging nearly half of the 45 million Americans participating in volunteer projects are seniors. This is a huge number, and it is still not enough to fill the needs of our communities for volunteer assistance.
There are a number of reasons why seniors make such excellent volunteer. Not the least of which is their experience and expertise in a variety of areas.
The federal government is a strong advocate of senior volunteerism, utilizing the diverse talents of our mature Americans. Ranging from caring for children to assisting at-risk seniors and their caregivers, to counseling small business owners to working in our parks, there is always a need that a volunteer senior could fill.
Here are a few places to look for federally funded opportunities:
Army Corps - Lakes and Campsites
Enjoy camping and the environment?
Community Office On Aging
The Older American Act (OAA) is a federal program providing resources to local community Offices on Aging.
Volunteer opportunities through this agency include:
Contact your local Office on Aging (almost every city has one) or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
- Assisting in group meal sites
- Delivering meals to the home bound elderly
- Escorting frail older persons to appointments and needed services
- Visiting home bound seniors
- Telephone calls to keep in contact with homebound seniors between visits
- Repairing and/or weatherizing homes of older people with low income
- Counseling in areas of nutrition, health, legal, financial
- Serving as a arbitrator at nursing homes, representing residents in disputes
- Assisting at a Senior Center, Day Care or other Group programs for seniors.
The National Senior Service Corps (Senior Corps) is a federally funded corporation consisting of a network of people 55 and over to help them find volunteer and service opportunities in their communities. Service opportunities available through Senior Corps include:
Offering support to children with special needs. Foster Grandparents assist in pre-school intervention programs with children who have speech and hearing difficulty, learning disabilities and/or developmental delays. In addition they work in anti-substance abuse programs in schools, work with boarder babies in hospitals and assist the youth with reading skills.
Contact Cleveland Foster Grand Parent c/o Joyce Cummings at 216-707-6004
Senior Companion Program:
Providing assistance to help elderly individuals live independently. Senior companions serve as friends and contacts to older people who need help or are alone. They provide a number of services including offering respite service to family members who are caregivers.
Senior Companions usually serve two to four clients and many have served the same clients for years, forming very special bonds and attachments. Senior companions receive reimbursement for transportation, meals during service, an annual physical exam and accident and liability insurance while on duty.
Retired and Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP):
Providing a variety of services including leading local museum tours and teaching adult education computer classes. RSVP volunteers serve from just a few to over forty hours a week in organizations ranging from hospitals and youth centers to police stations and educational facilities,
RSVP volunteers are 55 and over and the service is in an area of their expertise and interest.
RSVP volunteers are not compensated, but may be reimbursed for transportation and the like. Insurance protection is provided to volunteers while on assignment.
For further information call 1-800-424-8867. Locally, contact The Greater Cleveland RSVP at 216-391-9500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Corps can be reached by contacting the Benjamin Rose Senior Corps Program at 216-791-8000 x 400 or by email at email@example.com. For more information on Senior Corps' national program go to their website.
Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE is almost 15,000 people strong and is sponsored by the Unites States Small Business Administration. It is made up of retired small business owners and retired executives. The volunteers provide counseling to small business owners at no charge.
The Cleveland Chapter of SCORE can be reached at (216) 522-4194 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The SCORE website can be found at www.score.org.
Volunteers In Parks
If you have an interest in the great outdoors you can volunteer with the National Park Service's Volunteers in Parks Program (VIP). Volunteers work seasonally or full time for a few hours each week or month. They can work weekdays, weekends, daytime, or at night.
They can be reached via their website at nps.gov/volunteer.