Talking with seniors everyday has changed how I look at aging. I realize getting older has a lot more to do with one’s attitude than age. Everyday I meet wonderful individuals who dispel misconceptions about what a senior looks and acts like. So many seniors I encounter seek to live in a way that not only brings the greatest amount of happiness but also benefit others.
Throughout the month of May, the Volunteer Center has celebrated Older American’s Month (OAM). Our focus has been on how older adults in our community are redefining aging—through volunteer work and community interests, by taking charge of their health, and by remaining independent for as long as possible.
This year’s OAM theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages. More than ever, older adults are making a difference—for themselves and in communities—through civic engagement and advocacy efforts.
Seniors are standing up and speaking out loud for each other in support of basic nutrition. They are shedding light on the inequalities of proposed policies that threaten to take away safety nets for the fastest growing age group in our country. And, seniors are empowering themselves by engaging in meaningful volunteer work that serves to protect their rights and strengthen senior collaborations.
At the Volunteer Center seniors have been at the heart of our organization for 50 years and our pool of senior volunteers continues to expand in all program areas every year. We are so proud to be the home for seniors looking for meaningful opportunities and ways to engage in the causes they care about.
While Washington is busy wrangling over whether such valuable programs like Senior Corps, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Foster Grandparents, or Senior Companions will continue, here is what we know. In the last year, 245,000 Senior Corps volunteers served more than 74 million hours to improve local communities. In Santa Cruz County we see a powerful and strong senior service sector that shows up every day to volunteer in ways that benefit others and proves that older adults make a vital difference in our community.
We are proud to support and partner with them and we invite you to join them!
Blog Post written by Senior Programs Coordinator Tara Ireland who inspires volunteers to give back to their community and local seniors in need. Last year through her coordination efforts with Helping Hands, safety related home repairs were provided at 236 homes in Santa Cruz County.