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1,923 Senior Corps Volunteers Contributed 534,954 Hours of Service in Maine Last Year

October 4th, 2011

DATE:  September 19, 2011
FROM: Krysta Lilly-Brown, Planning and Research Associate
Maine Commission for Community Service
19 Union Street, 38 State House Station
Augusta, ME  04333-0038

1,923 Senior Corps Volunteers Contributed 534,954 Hours of Service in Maine Last Year
Senior Corps Week, September 19th-23rd, honors 1,923 Senior Corp Volunteers across Maine who provide critical services to the State of Maine.

Augusta- "The Public's Return on Investment, National Service in Maine" report released by the Maine Commission for Community Service outlines just how well Senior Corps, along with other nationally funded programs, serve Maine. Last year Senior Corps programs in Maine served 171,101 meals to 2,570 homebound seniors, provided 2,693 elderly with rides to medical appointments, provided independent living services to 1,221 seniors, provided one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to 1,562 children for a total of 188,031 hours, and provided 1,042 free exercise classes to 417 seniors. According to the report, these are just some of the accomplishments worthy of praised this week during Senior Corps Week.

Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that allows seniors, ages 55 and older, to contribute their talents and skills to address community deficits through volunteerism. The issues that Senior Corps focuses on range from poverty and illiteracy to helping other seniors remain in their homes while keeping volunteers active and healthy themselves.  Senior Corps Week honors the tremendous contributions of 450,000+ volunteers serving all across the country.

Senior Corp is made up of three different Corporation for National and Community Service programs: Foster Grandparents, RSVP, and Senior Companions.  Each program focuses on a different critical community.  According to Dr. Erwin Tan, director of Senior Corps at the Corporation, "Older Americans bring a lifetime of skills and experience that can be tapped to meet community challenges.  Our Senior Corps programs engage older Americans in solving problems and serving those most in need, making senior service a vital investment for our nation now and into the future."

Foster Grandparents- FGP provides tutors and mentors to children and youth with special need in schools, hospitals, drug treatment centers, correctional institutions, and child care centers. FGP volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring sessions for 15-40 hours per week.  Last year Maine had 236 FGP Volunteers who served an average of 797 hours, serving 1,879 young people, and 268 children with disabilities. According to the PROP FGP Program, 88% of students assigned to a FGP improved their academic performance and 90% of child development teachers reported FGP interactions with children boosted their self-confidence. According to Matthew Houghton, Principal of RSU#3, "Students that the FGP works with daily are calmer, caring, have better attendance and show more reading and writing gains, according to our district assessments, than their peers who do not have the one-on-one time with them."

RSVP- This year is RSVP's 40th anniversary. RSVP is one of the country's largest senior volunteer organizations with 1,516 volunteers in Maine who served 234,863 hours in 2010.  The RSVP program has 441 community partners in Maine. RSVP Volunteers tutor children, teach English to immigrants, assist victims of natural disasters, provide independent living services, and recruit and manage other volunteers. 98% of Penquis RSVP meals recipients reported that the meals they receive are an important source of nutrition to them.  85% reported that they feel that their health has improved since they began the meals program. According to Carol Male of Falmouth, "My mother began receiving Meals on Wheels last week. I've already seen a difference in her energy level and interest.  She told me that before the Meals on Wheels deliveries began, she would just have some cookies for lunch."

Senior Companions- Since 1974, Senior Companions has helped frail seniors and other adults maintain independence primarily in the clients' own homes. Senior Companion Volunteers serve between 15-40 hours per week and typically have between 2-4 clients at a time.  Last year Maine had 171 Senior Companions serving 828 clients with an average of 655 hours per volunteer.  99 caregivers were given respite because of the volunteer program.  87% families who receive services from the PROP SCP program reported that because of the outreach/companionship provided by a Senior Companion, the family was able to maintain caring for the elder family member in their own home, delaying institutionalization.  This service costs the PROP SCP program $5.19 per hour compared to a cost of $25-50 per hour without the volunteer program.

These programs not only allow seniors to contribute their wealth of skills, they also save taxpayers money by using volunteers to provide services criticaly needed by communities. 1,923 Senior Corps volunteers contributed 534,954 hours of service last year.  According to the Independent Sector, the dollar value of volunteer time is $21.36 per hour.  Based on that information, Senior Corps volunteers contributed over $11.4 million in service to Maine last year! Take a minute this week to recognize their contributions by saying, Thank you!

The Maine Commission for Community Service is the state government partner of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Volunteer Generation programs.

The state Commission builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy to solve local problems.