Volunteers make a huge contribution to the American economy and to our quality of life both for those who volunteer and those receiving needed services. The Independent Sector values one volunteer hour in Colorado at $25.97. But dollar value is not what motivates most volunteers. Most want meaningful work where they can make a difference in people’s real lives.
Boomers Leading Change offers opportunities to do just that. It’s called high impact volunteerism. Assignments use skills you’ve developed during your working life coupled with a high-quality training program.
Boomers Leading Change is the only organization in Colorado offering AmeriCorps Encore service for people 55 and older. They’re looking for AmeriCorps members now. Each position provides a modest living allowance and other benefits.
The AmeriCorps Encore program, now in its eighth year, trains people in effective ways to help our Metro Denver neighbors live fuller lives. Positions are available helping older adults age in place, providing food security to Denver’s hungry, and overcoming barriers so people in need have better access to social and medical services. However, many AmeriCorps members say that, by serving others, they gain a powerful sense of purpose in their own lives. That is the real reward, they say.
Peter Simons signed up for AmeriCorps in 2017 and is glad he did. At the end of the day, he says, “I feel I’ve helped someone a little bit.”
With his professional background in education and early childhood development, he took a position with the Spring Institute that helps refugee families establish themselves. His tasks take him into several areas. He works with families navigating the health care system and human services, teaches English language classes, and assists University of Colorado medical students working with immigrants.
One of his duties is advising families on health issues, helping them understand what they must do to maintain a healthy life, how to get to doctor appointments, and how to access other resources. “Once you get involved with a family that could include three generations, you see all sorts of issues that impact health from food to transportation,” he says.
“I don’t have an office,” says Peter, “I work in the community in Denver and Aurora. Almost all of my work is done in the homes of the refugee families in the program.”
Twice a week he works with 6-10 adults—and sometimes their kids—to improve their English language skills. The kids readily pick up the new language and actually help their parents learn.
Peter says he tried to retire four years ago and it didn’t go well, as he puts it. “I like to be busy and have a purpose,” he says.
Through AmeriCorps Encore he found that purpose. “There is so much need out there,” says Peter. “I like to feel that I’m making the world a bit better. I’ve helped some.”
Boomers Leading Change coordinates AmeriCorps positions at a dozen organizations across Metro Denver such as The Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning. All positions come with a small stipend and other benefits. Applicant interviews start June 19 and will continue throughout the summer.
To apply, contact Susan Kayler-Daley at Boomers Leading Change at 303-426-6637 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit BoomersLeadingChange.org for more information.