Staff from FCS’s Volunteer Services program joined leaders from hundreds of nonprofit and volunteer organizations from across the country in Washington, D.C. this month for the 2018 “National Senior Corps Convening” hosted by the Corporation for National and Community for Service (CNCS). The three-day event brought together directors and staff from the Corps’ Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) to network with peers, learn best practices and hear from national experts in the fields of aging.
As the designated RSVP provider for Monmouth County for 45 years, FCS engages more than 175 senior volunteers in its school-based childhood well being programs, Reading Buddies and Healthy Buddies and its State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), a free Medicare counseling service. FCS Volunteer Services Director Samantha White says the convening provided an invaluable opportunity to hear from other volunteer providers about the ways they are enlisting seniors to help address problems in their own communities.
“It was captivating and inspiring to hear stories about volunteers driving hundreds of miles or dedicating thousands of hours to meet a critical need,” White says. “From elder justice, to internet fraud schemes, to the opioid epidemic, our seniors are leading the way, lending their experience, skills and resources to confront the emerging issues of our time.”
White says the conference also reinforced the powerful impact volunteering can have on the health of older adults. A CNCS study released during the event found strong evidence that volunteers experience improved mental and physical health while they are helping others. White says she’s not surprised.
“Many of our Reading Buddies and Healthy Buddies volunteers are retired and now find fulfillment through our programs by utilizing the skills and experiences they have acquired to inspire their students to learn,” White explains. “Plus, they are socializing with their peers, bringing greater enjoyment to their lives. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
This year, FCS Reading Buddies will celebrate 2o yeas in the Monmouth County public school system. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, contact FCS Volunteer Services coordinator Marlena Scarola at 732-222-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Senior Corps
Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service. CNCS engages millions of Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year through its Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs and leads volunteering initiatives for the nation. For more information, visit nationalservice.gov.