Thursday, May 31, 2012

Volunteers 55+ are Making a Difference for Generations

The Volunteer Center is joining with the Corporation for National and Community Service to honor the impact of senior volunteers and to encourage more Americans age 55+ to serve their communities during Senior Corps month in May.  The Volunteer Center’s RSVP program engages senior volunteers to perform such activities as tutoring and mentoring children, improving the environment, mobilizing additional community volunteers and more.

 Whether retired, semi-retired or still in the workforce,  volunteers with the Volunteer Center’s  RSVP Program can choose the amount of time they want to give, and whether they want to draw on their own skills, or develop new ones as they support projects and organizations that make a real difference in meeting important community needs.  Volunteer jobs at over 42 local agencies are carefully screened to assure that the volunteers get the most out of their experiences.  With RSVP, volunteers receive pre-service orientation, training from the organization where they will serve, and supplemental insurance while on duty.  
 “At a time of increased need and declining resources, volunteers age 55 and over are stepping in to fill the gaps,” says Barbara Wiederecht, program director for RSVP.  “Today, more than ever, communities need the talents and skills of all Bergen County residents to help move our county forward.  RSVP volunteers respond to the call for service by 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.
With the theme “Making a Difference for Generations,” Senior Corps month highlights the powerful impact of 55+ volunteers in the RSVP program 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 the communities to have millions more skilled volunteers; and it helps the nation by saving taxpayer dollars and strengthening civic participation.
For more information about the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s RSVP program or to sign up for a volunteer project, call 201-489-9454 Ext. 130.

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