The Community Sector Council Newfoundland and Labrador, along with partner the Seniors Resource Centre Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, recently brought organizations and individuals together in Bonavista as part of a project called Age Well, Live Better - Volunteer!
The Forum for Older Adults was held to discuss activities of nonprofit groups in Bonavista area, volunteer opportunities and the benefits of volunteering, especially health benefits for seniors, and how their skills and interests might contribute to the work of community groups. 25 participants heard the presentation delivered by Bettina Ford with the Community Sector Council NL about these benefits and how older adults can determine what volunteer role might best meet their needs and motivation for getting more involved.
Presentations were also made by 5 community organizations who were looking to recruit new volunteers at the forum. These organizations detailed 21 diverse roles for volunteers to suit a wide range of interests and skills. Some volunteer opportunities were familiar to the participants - serve night snacks at the hospital, respond to house fires to assess peoples needs, and to bake beans for the fall fair. There were other needs for volunteers however that participants found surprising - entertainers and storytellers for the health centre, someone to supervise a mobile command post during a search and rescue mission, and volunteers to drive participants to a recreation activity.
At the end of the evening over a dozen individuals indicated that they would indeed like to begin volunteering with one or even several of the organizations. The next step will be for organizations to connect with these new recruits, bring them into their volunteer program, and provide them with a valuable volunteer experience. It is anticipated that these older adults will experience first hand some of the benefits of volunteering.
The project is being administered by the Community Sector Council Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with the Seniors Resource Centre Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and is funded by a wellness grant from the Department of Health and Community Services.
For information on the project contact Bettina Ford at 651-1140.