SENIOR VOLUNTEERS SAVE LONG ISLAND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
On Friday, June 15th, speaking before an audience of 500 people at Federation of Organizations’ annual Senior Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Lisa Murphy, the Nassau County Commissioner of Senior Citizen Affairs, commended the volunteers on their service to the community. She referred to a study by the New York State Office for the Aging indicating that there are 107,000 senior volunteers on Long Island and the value of their services exceeds 40 million dollars. At a time of drastic cuts to community services, the contribution to their communities made by volunteers of their time and skills is more important than ever before.
The event honored senior volunteers from the Suffolk County Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs as well as the Nassau County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Federation of Organizations sponsors these senior volunteer programs under the auspices of the Corporation for National and Community Services, a Federal agency promoting volunteerism. The Foster Grandparent Program connects senior volunteers with special needs children in schools, Head Start centers, preschools and other community locations. Currently, over 165 Foster Grandparents serve as mentors and tutors to over 2100 children daily throughout Suffolk County.
Ms. Gina Palasciano, who heads the Language and English as a Second Language Programs in Deer Park School District, spoke about the success the Foster Grandparents have had with children who are learning English. The Foster Grandparents “had a positive impact on my classroom this year and I truly believe that my students were able to achieve a higher level” she stated. The students were so appreciative of the assistance given by their “Grandma” that they wrote her a poem expressing to her that she empowered them and helped them to believe.
In addition, Federation sponsors the Senior Companion Program, which affords active seniors the opportunity to help frail elders who are homebound. Linda Stephens, who receives the services of the Senior Companion Program, spoke to the audience about how having a Senior Companion in her life has allowed her to remain living independently and how thankful she is that this program is available.
RSVP, our third senior volunteer program, connects adults who are 55 years of age and older with a rewarding volunteer opportunity based on their availability, skills, interests, talents and abilities. There are nearly 600 volunteers providing services to over 75 different non-profit organizations throughout Nassau County.
Federation wishes to thank the corporate sponsors that have generously pledged their support, including Bank of America, CA, Inc., The New York Community Bank Foundation, Astoria Federal Savings Bank, The Knapp Swezey Foundation, Holtz Rubenstein Reminick LLP, National Grid, Flushing Savings Bank, State Bank of Long Island and The Townwide Fund of Huntington, Inc. Their support is needed now more than ever as funding for these programs is eroded by cuts in government grants.
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