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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering is an all-American tradition. In fact, some 45 million Americans participate in volunteer activities and 15 million - about one third - of those who volunteer are older persons. Despite the large number of people who share their time and talents, however, the needs of our communities and the nation outstrip the number of people who volunteer.

Older Americans, especially retirees, are in an excellent position to volunteer. They not only have the time, but the experience and expertise to help in a variety of activities.

USA Freedom Corps

During his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush called upon every American to get involved in strengthening America's communities and sharing America's compassion around the world. He created the USA Freedom Corps to help all Americans to answer his call. The USA Freedom Corps Network has been built where individuals can find service opportunities that match their interests and talents in their hometowns, across the country or around the world. To learn more go to USA Freedom Corps website at: (Off Site)

Older Americans Act Programs

Each year about seven to nine million older people use Older Americans Act (OAA) services, whose delivery largely depends upon the efforts of half a million volunteers. These volunteers work through State and Territorial Units on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and more than 20,000 local organizations that offer opportunities and services to active older persons as well as those elderly who need help.

Volunteer activities include: assisting at group meals sites and delivering meals to the home-bound elderly; escorting frail older persons to health care services, on shopping errands and to other needed services; visiting homebound older persons and providing telephone reassurance to help ensure their well-being through regular social contacts; repairing and weatherizing the homes of low-income and frail older persons to ensure their safety and improve their mobility; counseling older persons in a variety of areas including health promotion, nutrition, legal and financial concerns; serving as a nursing home ombudsman to resolve resident facility disputes and to help ensure the safety and well-being of residents; providing homemaking assistant to frail older persons; and assisting in senior center, day care, and other group programs for seniors.

Anyone interested in volunteering in Older Americans Act Programs should contact their Area Agency on Aging. To locate an Area Agency on Aging near you contact the Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116 at: (Off Site)

Administration on Aging Supported Programs

Senior Medicare Patrol

The Senior Medicare Patrol projects teach volunteer retired professionals, such as doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys and teachers, to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to be better health care consumers, help identify and prevent billing errors and potential fraud. Since 1997, these Administration on Aging funded projects have trained more than 48,000 volunteers and conducted more than 60,000 community education events reaching nearly 10 million people. To learn more about Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers go to: (Off Site)

Experience Corps

Experience Corps places a critical mass of older adult volunteers in schools and youth-focused organizations in their communities. Started in 1995 as a pilot project in five cities, Experience Corps has grown to include more than 1,000 volunteers in 14 cities across the country. Among their many roles, the older adults work one-on-one with young children, create before- and after-school programs, get parents more fully involved in schools, and serve as advocates for children and their needs in the larger community. For more information visit: (Off Site)

Other Government Programs

The National Senior Service Corps (Senior Corps)

Senior Corps is a network of programs that tap the experience, skills, and talents of older citizens to meet community challenges. Through its three programs – Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP (the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) – more than half a million Americans age 55 and over assist local nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based organizations in carrying out their missions. Senior Corps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Foster Grandparents offer support to children with special needs; Senior Companions provide assistance to help elderly individuals live independently; and Retired and Senior Volunteers provide a variety of services that range from leading local museum tours to teaching adult education computer classes. Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions meet income eligibility requirements, serve 20 hours per week and receive small stipends. RSVP volunteers serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for such expenses as transportation. Insurance protection is provided to volunteers while on assignment.

For information on the Senior Corps programs call 1-800-424-8867 or visit: (Off Site)

The Peace Corps

For over 42 years, the Peace Corps has served 136 countries by responding to the countries’ requests for help in empowering people to take charge of their own future. Volunteers age 50 and over are valuable assets to the Peace Corps’ mission because of their extensive experience. Peace Corps volunteers commit to 27 months of training and service oversees. Volunteers work in the areas of business development, education, youth and community development, agriculture and the environment, and health. The Peace Corps prepares volunteers with extensive language, technical, and cross-cultural awareness training. Peace Corps benefits include transportation to and from the assigned country and medical benefits.

For information on the Peace Corps programs call 800-424-8580 or visit (Off Site)

Service Corps of Retired Executives

The Service Corps of Retired Executives or SCORE is a 13,000-member volunteer association sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE is made up of retired executives and small business owners. SCORE volunteers provide counseling to small business owners free of charge. Teams of volunteer counselors also assist small business owners in the areas of planning and management and offer seminars and workshops on major considerations in running a business.

Volunteers work in or near their home communities to provide management counseling and training to first-time entrepreneurs and current small business owners. They meet with clients at a SCORE chapter office, an SBA office or at the client's place of business.

To locate the SCORE office nearest you, call (800) 634-0245 or visit: (Off Site)

Volunteers in Parks

Older persons with an interest in history and the great outdoors can volunteer their time with the National Park Service's Volunteers in Parks or VIP program. The National Park Service is entrusted with preserving more than 360 national parks in the United States. In 1995, more than seventy-seven thousand people volunteered in almost every park in the National Park System, in big cities, in small towns, and in remote wilderness areas. Volunteers may work a few hours a week or month, seasonally, or full-time. They work weekdays, weekends, during the day, or at night. Additional information on the VIP program is available at: (Off Site)

Volunteering In Your Community

Volunteer Centers

In addition to the many volunteer opportunities open to older persons through Federal programs, community level agencies and organizations welcome the talents of the elderly. Many communities have Volunteer Centers that offer information about the types of volunteer opportunities available and the agencies and organizations that are seeking volunteer assistance. Volunteer Centers refer an estimated 800,000 new volunteers each year. Volunteers assist a wide variety of community organizations which provide services to such populations as the elderly, youth, people with AIDS, and the homeless. Opportunities are also available in areas such as the arts and the environment. To locate the Volunteer Center in your community call 1-800-VOLUNTEER or visit: (Off Site)

Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement

The Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) is a national nonprofit coalition of environmental, aging and volunteer organizations established in 1991. EASI's mission is to increase opportunities for older adults to play an active, visible role in protecting and improving the environment in their communities. EASI's national partners include over 300 national, state and local public and private organizations. For more information visit: (Off Site)

Ask a Friend Campaign

Ask a Friend is a nationwide campaign developed by Senior Corps, which taps the experience, skills, and talents of volunteers over 55 to meet a wide range of community challenges.

Because there is strength in numbers, Ask a Friend is searching for 100,000 new volunteers age 55 and over to help make a difference in our communities. You have so much to offer — whether teaching children or adults to read, creating a local recycling program, or providing needed support to a local non-profit agency — you can help solve serious problems right in your own backyard. As a volunteer, you not only impact people's lives but you also can strengthen your community. Visit: (Off Site)

Disclaimer: References from this web page or from any of the information services sponsored by AoA to any non-governmental entity, product, service or information does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Administration on Aging or any of its employees. AoA is not responsible for the contents of any "off-site" web pages referenced from this server. Although our page includes links to sites including or referencing good collections of information, AoA does not endorse ANY specific products or services provided by public or private organizations. By using this site, the user takes full responsibility for any use of these links.
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