Why Senior Citizens Are a Vital Addition to Your Volunteer Pool
Vol. 17 No. 4
The holiday season is a joyous time, filled with friends, family, and giving. But, come January, many of us fall into our normal routine and there can be less focus on community.
One group that can feel this shift are local senior citizens. As you review your initiatives for the new year, consider whether you could enlist this group to be part of your school’s volunteer team.
Many schools find themselves constantly looking for volunteers—there are never enough parents with flexible schedules to go around. Today’s senior citizens are more active than ever before.
The 2015 United States of Aging survey found that 82% of adults ages 60 and over exercise at least once per week and are positive and optimistic about the future. And more than 80% of Americans ages 65 and older are not working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This group is well-suited to engage with your students and help support school initiatives.
Start by inviting local grandparents to become more active in your community. Form a Grandparents Club to make the most of their volunteer capabilities. If you build strong bonds, they may continue to stay involved after their grandchildren graduate.
Invite these involved grandparents to spread the word to any interested peers. You can also contact various other groups, such as senior citizen organizations, assisted-living communities, churches, area volunteer banks, and your local AARP chapter. Ask them to circulate information about your volunteer needs.
Once you have interested volunteers, match their interests to your needs, particularly if they have no previous connection with your school. Give them reasons to get involved rather than just asking, “Would you be interested in helping at our school?”
Some may want to share skills, hobbies, or life experiences with your students. Others may have grandchildren who live far away and welcome the chance to work with young people.
Offer senior citizens multiple ways to participate in your community. Send designated communications to your Grandparents Club and other involved groups, publish opportunities on your website, and share upcoming events in your print newsletter and e-publications. Consider these options.
- Invite those interested in the arts to help design sets for the annual drama production or host a club about their artistic passion.
- Ask volunteers to work in the library and help young students with reading.
- Bring in guest speakers to discuss their travels, hobbies, and life experiences.
- Welcome seniors to act as chaperones on field trips or to supervise athletic events.
- Encourage qualified seniors to serve as academic tutors.
Your search for volunteers may generate great results to further strengthen your community. Tap today’s active, involved senior citizens as valuable sources of volunteer time, talent, and support for your school.
Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Advancement Vol. 15 No. 6 Planning a Grandparents Day to Bond With These Key Supporters
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 35 No. 2 When Is a Volunteer Not a Volunteer
I&P Vol. 39 No. 4 Build Your Volunteer Corps: Rights vs. Responsibilities