Are you having trouble loading this page? Click here to view a text-only version.

2015-Meals-on-Wheels-Walkathon-family-with-dog.jpg
2015-Meals-on-Wheels-Walkathon-family.jpg
16.jpg
24.jpg

RSVP: You’re Invited to Volunteer

two women looking toward cameraThe holidays are a bustling time filled with parties, presents, and visiting with family. But the post-holiday season can be a difficult time for many seniors who have no close family members or whose family has returned home. Seniors and people with disabilities living in rest homes and nursing homes benefit greatly from volunteer visits from LifePath’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. These regular visits ensure the seniors’ well-being, educate them about their rights, and help residents find resolutions to concerns. Ombudsman volunteers visit weekly on a flexible schedule. 

The post-holiday season can be a difficult time for many seniors who have no close family members or whose family has returned home.

The Ombudsman Program is a perfect fit for anyone who would like to develop their ability to advocate on behalf of others. No prior experience required. Training and supervision is key to preparing volunteers for this important role. The next local training will be held on March 25, 26, and 27 in Holyoke, MA. Please contact Trevor Boeding, MPH, Ombudsman program director, for more information and to get started on your application.  You can reach him via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at 413-773-5555, X2241 or 978-544-2259, X2241.

The SHINE program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone), is a LifePath program providing free and confidential health insurance counseling for Medicare recipients. Volunteers receive extensive training to become comfortable with all aspects of Medicare choices and then meet individually with seniors one-to-one to help resolve Medicare issues. 

Most area senior centers and hospitals have a SHINE volunteer assigned to conduct weekly appointments so seniors should call their local organizations if Medicare counseling and help is needed. SHINE volunteers, who have been called “angels” by some of the seniors they helped, need to be computer savvy and have good listening skills.

For adults who are 55 or older and are looking for significant activities to brighten the long winter days ahead, please volunteer. Contact Pat Sicard, Volunteer Manager, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley, 413-387-1286, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for Franklin and Hampshire County opportunities; or Ginger Elliott, Volunteer Coordinator, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley, 413-387-1296, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for Hampden County needs.

woman helping another woman with documentVolunteer‌ ‌Management‌ ‌guru‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Susan‌ ‌J.‌ ‌Ellis‌ ‌wrote‌ ‌about‌‌ ‌the‌ ‌countless‌ ‌charitable‌ ‌projects‌ ‌available during‌ ‌the‌ ‌holidays‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌“organizing‌ ‌or‌ ‌volunteering‌ ‌for‌ ‌toy‌ ‌drives,‌ ‌turkey‌ ‌banquets,‌ ‌or‌ ‌other‌ feel-good‌ ‌and‌ ‌help-those-in-need‌ ‌activities.” ‌She‌ ‌suggested‌ ‌that‌ ‌volunteers‌ ‌could‌ ‌rechannel‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ seasonal‌ ‌holiday‌ ‌energy‌ ‌and‌ steer‌ ‌toward‌ ‌a‌ ‌year‌-‌round‌ ‌commitment.‌ ‌

Although‌ ‌her‌ ‌message‌ ‌is‌ ‌over‌ ‌two‌ ‌decades‌ ‌old,‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌still‌ ‌viable‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌enter‌ ‌the‌ ‌2019‌ ‌holiday‌ ‌season.‌ ‌Dr. ‌Ellis‌‌ ‌suggested‌ ‌taking‌ ‌time‌ ‌to‌ ‌remember‌ ‌the‌ ‌importance‌ ‌of‌ ‌caring‌ ‌all‌ ‌year‌ ‌round,‌ ‌the‌ ‌gratification‌ ‌of ‌helping‌ ‌others,‌ ‌and‌ ‌suggests‌ volunteers‌ ‌could‌ ‌bring‌ ‌meaning‌ ‌to‌ ‌this‌ ‌time‌ ‌of‌ ‌year‌ ‌while‌ ‌also‌ ‌making‌ ‌a ‌year-round‌ ‌commitment‌ ‌to‌ ‌serve.‌‌

Volunteers‌ ‌assist‌ ‌people with disabilities, ‌or‌ ‌those‌ ‌60‌ ‌and‌ ‌over, apply for public benefits that can save them money and meet their basic needs to stay safely at home for as long as possible.

​One‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌enduring‌ ‌volunteer‌ ‌opportunities‌ ‌is‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌‌Benefits‌ ‌Counselor‌ ‌at‌ ‌LifePath.‌ ‌Volunteers‌ ‌assist‌ ‌people with disabilities, ‌or‌ ‌those‌ ‌60‌ ‌and‌ ‌over, apply for public benefits that can save them money and meet their basic needs to stay safely at home for as long as possible. ‌ For‌ ‌example, ‌volunteers‌ ‌can help‌ ‌with‌ ‌applications‌ ‌‌for‌ ‌services‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌SNAP‌ ‌or‌ Fuel‌ ‌Assistance. They also provide information about available resources‌ for ‌home‌ ‌repairs/home modifications, utility/phone discounts, etc. ‌This‌ ‌holiday‌ ‌season‌ ‌consider‌ ‌gifts‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌talent‌. Just a ‌few‌ ‌hours‌ ‌weekly ‌can‌‌ say, ‌“Happy‌ ‌Holidays”‌ ‌365‌ ‌days‌ ‌a‌ ‌year.‌

Pat‌ ‌Sicard‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Volunteer‌ ‌Manager‌ ‌for‌ ‌RSVP‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Pioneer‌ ‌Valley,‌ ‌Franklin‌ ‌and‌ ‌Hampshire‌ ‌counties,‌ ‌a‌ Senior‌ ‌Corps‌ ‌Program‌ ‌sponsored‌ ‌by‌ ‌Community‌ ‌Action‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Pioneer‌ ‌Valley.‌ ‌Contact‌ ‌Pat‌ ‌at‌ 413-387-1286‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.‌.‌ ‌Ginger‌ ‌Elliott‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Volunteer‌ ‌Coordinator‌ ‌for‌ ‌Hampden‌ County‌ ‌and‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌reached‌ ‌at‌ ‌413-387-1296‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.‌.‌

Nurten Foster and Audrey StockwellMoney Management Volunteer Nurten Foster and Program Assistant Audrey Stockwell, who also volunteers for the program, at last year’s Volunteer Recognition eventEveryone wants to feel a sense of belonging and importance, especially after retirement. Losing the connection to meaningful work and valued co-workers can be discouraging, but volunteering often fills that need to make a difference. Whether you would like to share your skills and experience to benefit local nonprofits, wish to make new friends, want to practice skills in preparation for re-entering the job market, or seek to help an organization that has helped you, volunteering is your ticket to post-retirement fulfillment.

With a few hours weekly or monthly, you can give assistance that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of your community’s most senior residents. Helping to prepare or deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound elders is one of the most important volunteer supports in every community. Elders who cannot prepare a hot meal for themselves depend on the meals drivers to bring sustaining food with a smile. This delivery also serves as a wellness check that can alert caregivers when a senior is having difficulties of any type. Meals drivers decrease loneliness, increase health and wellbeing, and always know that their volunteer efforts make a definite difference in the lives of their clients.

With a few hours weekly or monthly, you can give assistance that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of your community’s most senior residents.

Some other volunteer assignments that support seniors are money management volunteers who help elders pay their bills, long-term care ombudsman volunteers who visit seniors in nursing homes, and Med-Ride drivers who take seniors to medical appointments. RSVP of the Pioneer Valley can offer many volunteer options, you make the choice that fits you best, and we facilitate the match. Challenge your interests and skills and make a difference.

In Franklin and Hampshire counties, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager, 413-387-1286. In Hampden County contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Volunteer Coordinator, 413-387-1286. We look forward to hearing from you.

two female volunteers at workRSVP of the Pioneer Valley has over 600 volunteers who serve at more than 65 nonprofit agencies throughout Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Our volunteers represent a wide variety of skills, interests, and lifestyles and many are still working. RSVP’s “Experience On Call” program is an answer for many who are busy but still want to help their communities.

The possibilities are as varied as our volunteers’ interests, skills and availability.

“Experience On Call” is not a regular weekly or monthly commitment. It provides the opportunity to volunteer for specific, time-limited events and projects. Volunteers help with setup and registration for art and health fairs, 5K runs and fundraising events, provide consultation for information technology projects, clear hiking paths, serve on building project planning boards, and decorate historic homes for the holidays. The possibilities are as varied as our volunteers’ interests, skills and availability.

If you are at least 55 years old and want to volunteer but are too busy for a regular long term commitment, “Experience on Call” may be the right fit for you to gain confidence, experience a continued sense of purpose, support your community, and choose just the projects and events that interest you the most.

To get started, contact your volunteer connectors, Ginger Elliott, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Hampden County),  413-387-1296; or Pat Sicard,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Hampshire & Franklin Counties), 413-387-1286.

Female volunteer showing man a booklet while sitting on couchAccording to AARP at Create the Good, “Volunteering makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. But did you know how much you help yourself by giving back?”

Benefits of volunteering to older adults can include lowering stress, finding new friends and social opportunities, and gaining confidence and a continued sense of purpose. Aren’t you more interesting company when you have something to talk about?

That feeling of happiness and well-being comes from a release of dopamine in the brain, and helping others has that exact same effect.

Brain Benefits for Seniors Who Volunteer, a 2009 study by Johns Hopkins University revealed that “volunteering increases brain functioning because activity gets you moving and thinking at the same time.” Volunteers also experience “The Happiness Effect” which is similar to the aftermath of a vigorous workout. That feeling of happiness and well-being comes from a release of dopamine in the brain, and helping others has that exact same effect. So, the more you volunteer, the happier you become!

As the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” goes, use those extra hours in your weekly schedule for good to help your brain and your neighbors. Share your skills and experience to benefit elders who are trying to remain independent in their own homes by volunteering for programs such as LifePath’s Money Management program.

RSVP of the Pioneer Valley is the volunteer connector for adults 55 and older who have some time and wish to help with meals programs, rides to medical appointments, or help with bill paying. RSVP offers options: You choose and we facilitate the match.

Want more suggestions to challenge your interests and skills? Contact Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-387-1286.