Elected Officials, Community Leaders and Media Spotlight Impact of 55+ Volunteers
The Corporation for National and Community Service joined with organizations across the country to honor the powerful impact of Senior Corps volunteers and encourage more Americans 55+ to serve their communities during the third annual Senior Corps Week, May 7-11, 2012. Throughout Senior Corps Week, elected officials, project directors, and community leaders from across the nation took part in recognition events and service projects to recognize the contributions of Americans age 55+ who help solve problems, meet community needs, and provide a model for lifelong citizen service.
Across the country, Members of Congress, governors, mayors, and other elected officials saluted Senior Corps volunteers through proclamations and events; Senior Corps programs honored their volunteers and hosted service projects; and national and local media outlets covered Senior Corps stories.
With the theme “Making a Difference for Generations,” Senior Corps Week reinforced the message that service by older Americans benefits all involved – it helps volunteers by keeping them active, healthy, and engaged; it helps our communities and nonprofits to have millions more skilled volunteers; and it helps our nation by saving taxpayer dollars and strengthening civic participation.
Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information visit NationalService.gov.
Senior Corps Week Media Coverage
Senior Corps Week generated significant national, regional, and local media coverage, with more than 850 broadcast and print stories reaching millions of Americans. CNCS and Senior Corps programs expanded coverage by linking Senior Corps Week and the contributions of older volunteers to Older Americans Month; promoting the health benefits of volunteering through release of a new issue brief on the Health Benefits of Volunteering for Older Americans, and highlighting exceptional Senior Corps volunteers, including veterans and those aged 100+.
Visit National Service in the News for links to news stories. Key highlights include:
- Hundreds of print and online articles before and during Senior Corps Week, including coverage in top national and regional papers including the Associated Press, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Pocono Record, Tennessean and Salt Lake Tribune
- A special feature on the Huffington Post featuring a Senior Corps photo slideshow, guest posts highlighting Boomer and 100+ volunteers, and an op-ed by CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer on Older Volunteers: Making a Difference for Generations
- An NBC Nightly News story about Foster Grandparent Erma Klatt, a teenage Rosie the Riveter who helped build and repair battleships during World War II and for the past 16 years has served second graders with special needs at Big Sky Elementary in Billings, Montana.
- A pre-Senior Corps Week story in The New York Times’ The New Old Age blog, featuring the Senior Companion Program and directing readers to GetInvolved.gov
- Op-eds and letters-to-the-editor in the The News-Press (FL), The Weekly Herald (WA), The Herald Bulletin (IN), The Standard-Times (TX), San Angelo Standard Times (TX) and The Wayne Post (NY)
- National and local broadcast interviews and stories, including Senior Corps Director Erwin Tan on NewsChannel8 and Fox Network (distributed to more than 100 affiliates nationwide); broadcast stories on WTAP (WV), KREX-TV (CO) and WABI-TV (ME)
- An audio news release featuring Erwin Tan discussing impact of senior volunteers and health benefits of volunteering that aired on 640 radio stations, reaching nearly seven million listeners nationwide.
Elected Officials Support
Showing broad, bipartisan support for national service and Senior Corps, elected officials from every level of government participated in and recognized Senior Corps Week 2012. Highlights include:
- President Obama recognized Senior Corps Week in his Presidential Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2012.
- President Ben Shelly of the Navajo Nation issued a proclamation on Senior Corps Week in the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- The following federal elected officials themselves or their staff actively engaged in Senior Corps Week events or sent official recognitions:
- Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT-ALL) (and some of his staff) and staff for Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) attended an event in Helena hosted by the Rocky Mountain Development Council that recognized Senior Corps volunteers.
- Staff from the offices of Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT-ALL) and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) met with the four Senior Corps Directors in Burlington, VT.
- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a personal letter of appreciation to each RSVP volunteer in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
- Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) attended a recognition event hosted by the Des Moines Foster Grandparent Program.
- Staff for Congressman Chris Murphy (D-CT-5) attended the America Reads recognition event in Torrington.
- Staff for Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) attended the RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Volunteer Appreciation Brunch in North Bethesda.
The following federal elected officials requested information on Senior Corps Week and activities in their states and districts:
- Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ-1)
- Congressman Chris Murphy (D-CT-5)
- Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL-5)
- Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO-3)
- Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8)
- Senator Mark Begich (D-AK)
- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
The following federal elected officials used their social media channels to recognize Senior Corps Week:
- Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR-2)
- Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7)
- Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5)
Elected officials from state and local government across the country also recognized Senior Corps Week. The following governors issued proclamations:
- Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ)
- Governor Mike Beebe (D-AR)
- Governor Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
- Governor Pat Quinn (D-IL)
- Governor Terry Branstad (R-IA) (picture)
- Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI)
- Governor Dave Heineman (R-NE)
- Governor Beverly Perdue (D-NC)
- Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR)
- Governor Bill Haslam (R-TN)
- Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV)
- Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) recognized RSVP Bone Builders in his resolution declaring May as Vermont Osteoporosis Awareness Month. (photo & story)
- Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) met with Senior Corps members who presented him with a mock check for the value of donated hours served by Senior Corps members in Oregon. He also officially read his Senior Corps Week proclamation.
- Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (R-MT) attended an event in Helena hosted by the Rocky Mountain Development Council that recognized Senior Corps members.
- Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz (D-HI) co-signed the proclamation issued by Governor Abercrombie recognizing Senior Corps Week.
- Minnesota State Representatives Tom Anzelc (D), Carolyn McElfatrick (R), and John Persell (D) signed a proclamation recognizing Senior Corps Week.
- The Vermont Legislature issued a joint resolution designating May as Vermont Osteoporosis Awareness Month and honored the Bone Builders RSVP program for their work in that area while also recognizing the RSVP program of Bennington Country for its 40th anniversary.
- President of the Navajo Nation Ben Shelly issued a proclamation.
- The Board of Supervisors of Coconino County, AZ issued a proclamation.
- The City Council of Cottonwood, AZ issued a proclamation.
- The Board of Commissioners of Lincoln County, OR issued a proclamation.
- The Board of Commissioners of Douglas County, OR issued a proclamation.
- Board of Supervisors Member Max Wilson (Maricopa County, AZ) issued a proclamation.
- County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey (Chester County, SC) issued a proclamation.
- Board of Chosen Freeholders Director William Chegwidden (Morris County, NJ) issued a proclamation at a ceremony.
- Mark Allen, President Deep East Texas Council of Governments, issued a proclamation.
- Mayor Jim Smith (Helena, MT) attended an event in Helena hosted by the Rocky Mountain Development Council that recognized Senior Corps members.
- Mayor Peter Corroon (Salt Lake County, UT) sent a Thank You letter to all of the Senior Corps stations in Salt Lake County to be shared with the members.
The following Mayors issued Senior Corps Week proclamations:
- Mayor Bernard Carvalho (Lihu’e, HI)
- Mayor Peter Corroon (Salt Lake County, UT)
- Mayor John Engen (Missoula, MT)
- Mayor John Gayle (Valdosta, GA)
- Mayor Diane Joens (Cottonwood, AZ)
- Mayor Sara Presler (Flagstaff, AZ)
- Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (Tucson, AZ)
- Mayor Elaine Scruggs (Glendale, AZ)
Senior Corps Week Events
Senior Corps programs across the country held events to recognize volunteers, serve their communities and shine a spotlight on amazing work Senior Corps volunteers do every day.
- Glendale, Arizona – Senior Companion Program
Elaine Scruggs, Mayor of the City of Glendale, proclaimed Senior Corps Week and encouraged citizens to honor volunteers and the impact they have on their communities.
- Tucson, Arizona – Senior Companion Program
Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of the City of Tucson Proclaimed Senior Corps week and urged citizens to recognize volunteers for the impact that they have on their communities.
- Burlingame, California – RSVP
The RSVP Program was honored during Senior Corps week with a Proclamation from President George M Shirakawa of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
- Chattanooga, Georgia - RSVP
On May 11, the Senior Leadership Class graduated, after serving nine months with RSVP and recorded over 1000 hours of volunteering so far.
- Thomasville, Georgia - Senior Companion Program
Senior Companions drove 45 miles to Southwestern State Hospital and donated reading materials to the patient library.
- Trout County, Georgia – Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs
Senior Corps volunteers celebrated their service at a recognition event.
- Valdosta, Georgia – Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs
Mayor Gayle recognized the Foster Grandparent and RSVP programs for their incredible service to their community. Free haircuts for veterans were given through a partnership with the Homeless Veterans Program. In a symbol of unity on May 11th, FGP and RSVP programs from 10 counties united by wearing white ribbons for the entire day.
- Macon-Bibb County, Georgia – Foster Grandparent Program
The Foster Grandparent Program hosted a Book Drive for children and the stations’ library. The book drive was televised on a local television station. Each station honored their volunteers with teas, lunches, and tokens that included cards, flowers, and gift cards. In addition, seniors participated in the Golden Olympics on May 10.
- Savannah, Georgia – Senior Companion Program
A Letter to the Editor, submitted by the Senior Companion Community Advisory Group, was printed in the Savannah Morning News. The program was highlighted on “Stir It Up”, a local radio show featured on WHCJ90.3 FM.
- Southwest Georgia – Senior Companion Program
The Southwest Hospital Senior Companion Program hosted a volunteer recognition ceremony where Senior Companions from six different sites in three different cities met at Southwestern State Hospital to celebrate Senior Corps Week and Older Americans Month.
- Georgia Southern University, Georgia – Senior Companion Program
Georgia Southern Senior Companion Program celebrated Senior Corps Week by participating in the 10th Annual Bulloch County Collaborative Resource Fair on May 10, 2012. There was a wealth of information from a collection of concerned non-profit and social service agencies who wish to assist individuals and families.
- Honolulu, Hawaii - RSVP, Senior Companion, and Foster Grandparent Programs
- The Maui County RSVP hosted the annual “Tap into Child Safety” event where they provided safety related resources to parents, grandparents, and youth.
- The RSVP volunteers of Hawaii County sponsored a blood drive for the Blood Bank of Hawaii in Kona.
- CNCS Hawaii Stated Director Laurie Cannady and Foster Grandparent Joe Aragon were interviewed as part of the Elderhood project on KHON news. Governor Abercrombie publically proclaimed Senior Corps Week.
- Springfield, Illinois - RSVP & Foster Grandparent Program
RSVP and Foster Grandparent volunteers performed in a surprise Flash Mob at Senior Celebration, an annual event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
- McLean County, Illinois - RSVP
The RSVP program of McLean County partnered with the Special Needs Advisory Panel to register individuals in their community for the Disaster Preparedness project.
- St. Mary’s County, Maryland - RSVP
The women of St. Mary’s RSVP program were featured in an article in “Southern Maryland Woman” magazine.
- Delta County, Michigan - RSVP
RSVP held a contest asking station supervisors to contribute stories on the impact the RSVP volunteers bring to the organization. Entries were judged by the staff of the Daily Press. In addition, Delta Country and Menominee/Marinette Counties hosted volunteer recognition events.
- Macomb County, Michigan - RSVP and Senior Companion Program
RSVP and Senior Companion volunteers went on a “City Hall Crawl” in honor of Senior Corps Week. Volunteers stopped at the offices of Macomb County leaders where they were recognized for their contributions to the county.
- Crow Wing County, Minnesota - RSVP
Crow Wing County’s RSVP program launched its “voiceblast program” which allows RSVP to contact volunteers with a single call.
- New York, New York - RSVP
RSVP volunteers provided seven free workshops to adults 55 and over. RSVP mentors volunteered in an enrichment youth program at the African Center for Community Empowerment (ACCE). They mentored the youth ages 3-13 on harnessing their written and oral skills. The culmination of their hard work came during Senior Corps Week in the form of a book launch party, where the children unveiled their books to family and friends.
- Lawton, Oklahoma – RSVP
- The City of Lawton’s Mayor recognized RSVP volunteers for their work in the city and Comanche County. The volunteers presented the Mayor with a “check” for their volunteering worth $928,091.51
- The RSVP program serving Bell County introduced CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) in honor of Senior Corps Week. Also in honor of Senior Corps Week, four RSVP members all aging over 100 contributed 1,195 hours of service.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma - RSVP
RSVP volunteers posted a Senior Corps Week banner on their Facebook page, sent out posters and postcards, and sent out an eblast to 1550+ recipients.
- Somerset County, Pennsylvania - RSVP
RSVP volunteers spent time with children in an after school program on May 9, which resulted in a proclamation from the County Commissioners and print media coverage.
- Chester, South Carolina – Senior Companion Program
Chester Counties Senior Corps Supervisor Carlisle Roddey issued a proclamation to Senior Companion Volunteers.
- Norris, South Dakota - Foster Grandparent Program
Leonard Little Finger, a respected elder known for his Lakota expertise and promotion of Native American rights, spoke with the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Foster Grandparents at their meeting on May 2 at the LOWO office in Pine Ridge.
- Nashville, Tennessee – Foster Grandparent Program
To commemorate Senior Corps week, Foster Grandparent volunteers took part in a special project entitled “I Pledge to do My Part” committing to spread the word about human trafficking in America.
- Chattanooga, Tennessee - Human Services Foster Grandparent Program
Foster Grandparent volunteers served children in early development at multiple sites in Hamilton County. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem proclaimed Senior Corps Volunteers at their annual “Here Comes Summer” recognition picnic.
- East Texas, Texas - RSVP, Senior Companion, and Foster Grandparent Programs
The Deep East Texas Council of Governments Board adopted a proclamation naming May 7-11th Senior Corps Week.
Senior Corps Week Digital Outreach
CNCS used Senior Corps Week as an opportunity to engage in an online discussion about seniors and volunteering with its National Service and Senior Corps social media channels. As a result, the Senior Corps Facebook page more than doubled its reach going from 4,166 to 8,486 visits, an increase that has remained consistent since the end of Senior Corps Week. In addition, CNCS wrote and posted the following blog entries:
- To Feel Young Again: RSVP of Albany Builds Ramps and New Lives for Fellow Vets
- Boomers Taking a “Second Act” Through Volunteering
- Senior Corps Fills Gaps in the Social Safety Net
- Senior Corps: A Closer Look
The following blog pieces were published on Huffington Post:
- Senior Corps Week: Paying it Forward Baby Boomer Style
- Older Volunteers: Making a Difference for Generations
- Super Seniors Serving to 100 and Beyond
Senior Corps Week 2013 – Start Planning Now!
Senior Corps Week 2013 is May 6-10 to align with Older Americans Month. We look forward to working with you to celebrate, recognize, and highlight the extraordinary contributions that Foster Grandparents, RSVP, and Senior Companion volunteers make through service in their communities each and every day.