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Connecting 55-Older People With Volunteer Opportunities

October 17th, 2017

Senior Corps manager Steve Weeks (second from right) met with Commissioners (l. to r.) Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover.

Volunteering is a great way for many older Americans to stay engaged in their communities and make a difference. It opens the door to opportunities, meeting new people, and making new friends. One of the nation’s largest and most recognizable volunteer networks, the Senior Corps, is making a push for participants in Potter County. Also known as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Corps provides the opportunity for people age 55 and older to share their time and talent in a wide variety of volunteer activities. Steve Weeks, director of RSVP for Potter, Tioga, Clinton, Lycoming and Northumberland counties, shared details with the Potter County Board of Commissioners last week.

“Many retirees and other people 55 and older are eager to serve and give back to their communities,” Weeks explained. “The problem we’re seeing, especially in this part of the state, is that they’re not sure where they might be needed or what they can do to help. Senior Corps bridges that gap, not only for the volunteer, but also for the agency or organization that needs the help.”

Schedules are flexible, Weeks pointed out. Volunteers can choose a location or community project, as well as the number of hours they wish to serve. They receive basic orientation and training, as well as full insurance coverage while serving. Senior Corps members have become a lifeline to many nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and other groups who depend on volunteers to help meet the increased demand for services. As community needs are identified, they respond quickly. Perhaps it’s providing food to hungry neighbors, training unemployed workers, offering support to struggling veterans and military families, or helping a child learn to read.

Weeks said he is establishing a Potter County advisory committee for outreach to potential Senior Corps members and organizations where these volunteers could serve. Terry Cole, director of Pennsylvania CareerLink, and Potter County Human Services executive director Jim Kockler have agreed to serve on the committee and other members are welcome. For more information on Senior Corps, contact Steve Weeks in Wellsboro at 570-765-3075.

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