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  4.  » Troup County AmeriCorps needs older volunteers

Troup County AmeriCorps needs older volunteers

 

Troup County Americorps needing volunteers 55 and older

Troup County’s AmeriCorps Senior Volunteer Program is searching for “foster grandparents,” those above the age of 55, to help in local schools by providing one-on-one mentoring and academic support to children with special or exceptional needs.

The local AmeriCorps Seniors program also needs senior volunteers for its Senior Companion Program. This effort matches adult volunteers who are 55-plus with older adults or those with disabilities who may need extra help with daily tasks such as shopping, paying bills or driving to appointments.

Both AmeriCorps programs not only provide meaningful opportunities to serve one’s community, but also a small hourly stipend for senior volunteers who meet established income eligibility guidelines. Prior to enrollment, volunteers will clear a physical and background checks. Income verification is required to receive the stipend.

AmeriCorps Seniors is part of the national AmeriCorps program, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. The local AmeriCorps Seniors program is administered through the Troup County Health Department, with LaShonda Smith serving as program director.

“The way our volunteers serve the local community is by developing one-on-one relationships with individuals of all ages who may need extra help and support,” Smith said. “The work they do is under-the-radar by its very nature, but I can tell you that the relationships I’ve seen formed over the years are incredibly meaningful—not only for the ones they’re serving, but for the volunteers themselves.”

While serving, Senior Corps volunteers also improve their own lives, staying active and healthy through service, Smith said. Findings from a recent study show that Senior Corps volunteers serving nationwide with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs report feeling significantly less depressed and isolated, along with higher health scores.

“As a volunteer, it can be so gratifying to know you were the reason another older adult is able to continue living independently—or the reason a child is now thriving both in and out of the classroom,” Smith said. “Our volunteers say their experiences have really touched and enriched their lives.”

Visit www.americorps.gov/seniors for more information. For more information on becoming a senior volunteer in Troup County, please contact LaShonda Smith, program director, at lashondasmith@dph.ga.gov or (706)298-3612.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Natalie Shelton, natalie.shelton@dph.ga.gov or (706) 302-6707