Civic Engagement Initiative
Each year over ten million people receive services under the Older Americans Act, whose delivery largely depends upon the efforts of volunteers. Volunteers help in many ways, including: assisting at group meals sites and delivering meals to the home-bound elderly; escorting and transporting frail older persons to health care services; repairing and weatherizing the homes of low-income and frail older persons; counseling older persons in a variety of areas including health promotion, nutrition, legal and financial concerns; and serving as nursing home ombudsmen to help ensure the safety and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities.
AoA is working to support the use of volunteers in OAA programs and to provide expanded opportunities for older adults and others to get involved in their communities. Current AoA efforts include:
Agreement with the Corporation for National and Community Service
The OAA Amendments of 2006 called for AoA to coordinate with the Corporation for National and Community Service to encourage volunteer and civic engagement activities for all ages in supportive services and community capacity-building initiatives. ACL and the Corporation for National and Community Service have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the development of collaborative activities to help modernize the way public and non-profit organizations utilize older adults and persons with disabilities as volunteers.
The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative
AoA supports the Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative located within the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The Cooperative aggregates, synthesizes, and disseminates research and proven volunteer engagement practices through training, coaching, and technical assistance.
The Collaborative also supports the Got an Hour? Give it Back Campaign. The Campaign was developed to help local agencies throughout the country attract volunteers to programs that work with seniors. The Campaign provides downloadable materials, webinars, and a search tool (powered by VolunteerMatch.org) to help connect prospective volunteers with opportunities and programs in their neighborhood. Visit the Campaign site to learn more and access campaign materials.
Resources and Useful Links
Corporation for National and Community Service—is a Federal agency that supports service and volunteering. Through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, the Corporation provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to address critical community needs.
Volunteering and Civic Life in America—provides a comprehensive look at volunteering and civic life in the 50 states and 51 cities across the country. Data includes volunteer rates and rankings, civic engagement trends, and analysis.
Points of Light—a national organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through affiliates in 250 cities across more than 30 countries and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages millions of volunteers each year.
Eldercare.gov—locate volunteer opportunities in Older Americans Act programs.
Serve.gov—a comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities across the country and around the world.
Volunteer Match—a national nonprofit that helps individuals find volunteer opportunities by location, interest area, and/or keyword.
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