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You Can Make a Big Impact as a Village Volunteer!

This blog post is a bit different from those I’ve done over the past couple of years because I’m sharing it with a sense of urgency – and opportunity. 

The urgency is driven by our rapid population growth in Sussex County and in particular the large number of people who are facing challenges due to aging. Many depend on their memberships with Village Volunteers https://www.villagevolunteer.org/, an organization that provides rides to doctor visits and social events, shoppers for trips to the grocery and drug stores, light home repairs and computer help, and, wrapped into all of that, friendship.

Unfortunately the organization doesn’t have enough volunteers to meet the need. A friend of ours who has been there for four years currently shops for and enjoys the company of two wonderful women, one who loves her lovely Bay Crossing home and one who has recently moved into The Lodge at Historic Lewes. While he’s only able to support these two Village clients, he gets many more requests from the organization every month. As we head into another busy spring and summer, the need for more volunteers will be more significant.

For Village members, a lifeline to independence

I’ve done a few posts describing why it’s smart to become a Village Volunteers member, which costs $500 a year for an individual and $750 a year for a household https://www.activeadultsdelaware.com/blog/?q=Village+Volunteers&Search=Search. You’re a good candidate if you aren’t ready to move from your home into an independent living situation, or if you just need some extra help with errands or to keep your home looking good. As a member, you’ll have access to the following services:

  • Transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, hairdresser and barber visits and other errands 
  • Someone who will do your grocery shopping
  • Help with light home maintenance tasks, from changing lightbulbs and smoke alarms, to installing screens and storm windows, to moving furniture and turning mattresses, to simple repairs and light yard work
  • Help with technology, from dealing with your computer to your phone to your thermostats and TV remotes
  • Conversation and companionship

For Village Volunteers, satisfaction and gratitude

I hope you’ll scroll through the Village Volunteers Web site to learn more about the organization. In the meantime, here are a few important things to know about becoming a volunteer:

  • Members know you’re part of a select group of great people. All volunteers are carefully vetted. In addition to having your background checked, you’ll do a friendly and brief interview, during which you can talk through your own life experiences and discuss the skills you’re best able to apply to your work with the organization. 
     
  • You make your own schedule, based on the amount of available time you have and based on what your clients need. Our friend does grocery shopping for both of his clients on the same day, and at the same store. He typically does the shopping on the same day each week but that sometimes changes based on other things going on in his life.
     
  • You determine which members you’d like to support. The Village staff does a good job of matching volunteers with members, but they also work with you based on where you live (so you don’t have to drive great distances), and based on your skills and interests. You’ll certainly be in demand if you’ve got great computer skills or can do light home repairs, but you’ll be just as valuable if you simply want to shop for members, or take them to occasional appointments, or just want to provide companionship. 
     
  • You might be surprised about how enjoyable the experience can be. In a survey by the United Health Group regarding volunteering in general, 96 percent of volunteers say their efforts give them a greater sense of purpose, 95 percent know it makes their communities a better place, and 94 percent say it improves their moods, with 78 percent finding that it lowers their own stress levels.

If you think you’d be a good volunteer, learn more at https://villagevolunteer.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=492141&module_id=148131

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