A recurring comment throughout many presentations at POAMN’s 2023 conference was how much volunteer organizations value the skills and time of older adults. Here are some very worthy organizations that could benefit from your assistance.
Cindy Ray (below, right), director of Presbyterian Association of Homes and Service for the Aging (PAHSA), spoke about opportunities for volunteering in senior living communities. The two largest groups of volunteers in senior communities are 1) residents of the communities and 2) retired older adults who live elsewhere. Whatever your skills, there is an opportunity for you to serve others in a senior community. While there are obvious benefits to the senior community, Cindy shared the many benefits to individuals. These include staying active, making friends, experiencing life in senior living environments, and facing your own aging. Find a PAHSA facility near you at https://web.pahsa.org/directory/.
Doug Wood (below), an ambassador with Appalachia Service Project, shared how the organization’s volunteers have been making homes warmer, safer, and drier since 1969. While their service is home repair and home replacement, Doug described it as “a relationship ministry with construction on the side.” ASP and its volunteers develop relationships with the people they serve and seek to “accept people where they are, the way they are.” They assist people in six states: Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can volunteer with the organization at any age and at any time of the year. Find them online at www.asphome.org.
Jon Brown and Eileen Lindner invited us to get involved in opportunities with Volunteers in Global Service. Volunteers can participate from virtually their homes or onsite at national and international locations. VGS’s paradigm is the parable of the paralytic in the Gospel of Mark, wherein volunteers help a paralyzed man by placing him on a pallet, lifting him up on the roof, and then lowering him down inside so that he could see Jesus. Learn more at www.volunteersinglobalservice.org.
Steve Benton is Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church’s volunteer team leader for Living Waters for the World. A Presbyterian mission resource, Living Waters for the World trains volunteers to implement and operate sustainable water purification systems and health programs around the globe. The Grosse Ile team has made five trips to Cuba since November 2017 and has installed water filtration systems in Havana and Ciego de Avila. Steve shared that the key thing for success is “building relationships with the people you are there to help.” You can check out their website at www.livingwatersfortheworld.org.
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program was the focus of Sue Hurst’s presentation. The organization has helped 75 million people file their income taxes. On average, the folks they serve have an annual income of about $18,000 and can’t afford the cost of using a professional tax preparer. There’s a variety of volunteer roles at over 4,000 sites nationwide and also flexible virtual opportunities. Learn more at www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/.
Danielle West from Grosse Ile, MI, spoke about local nonprofit gardens that help the community and the volunteer opportunities available with them. The organization for which she volunteers, Community Grown Gardens, has three missions: teaching people of all ages about sustainable agriculture, growing organic food, and giving the produce to those in need. You can check out their website at www.communitygrowngardens.org.
Is there a volunteer organization on this list or near you that could benefit from your gifts?