Tonawanda News

The Tonawandas

June 1, 2014

Sought-after 60s: Youngest seniors are coveted by area volunteer groups

Youngest seniors are coveted by area volunteer groups


Tonawanda News — But it’s the older, more committed volunteers who really make up the difference for area organizations. And the place to find them is among the newly retired men and women who finally have a little time and freedom. But many are just too busy.

“The Baby Boomers for the most part aren’t coming in,” said Priscilla Dolling, manager for the volunteer center at HANCI, a health and human service agency, which runs programs such as the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion program. “We’re constantly trying to get new people to fill the needs — which are great,” she said.

Over at Habitat for Humanity, where volunteers help to build homes for deserving families, there always seem to be enough volunteers to hammer a nail. It’s the behind-the-scenes work that is wanting, said spokesperson Cassandra Lewis. 

“We usually have a good amount of volunteers that want to come to the job site because we get college groups and church groups,” she said. “But it’s the day-to-day operations on the committees where we could really use the help.”

Some non-profits are luckier than others. A spokesperson for Niagara Hospice said the volunteer numbers have been steady. And the Lewiston Council on the Arts, which uses lots of volunteers, particularly for its Lewiston Art Festival, has a bounty of loyal volunteers.

“Everybody wants to volunteer at the Lewiston Art Festival,” said Eva Nicklas, council spokeswoman. “It finally got to the point we realized its such a coveted position ... so we made a decision that anybody who wants to volunteer at the Lewiston Art Festival has to be a member of the Arts Council.

“That’s something very special we can give our members, because everybody wants to do it.”

While most volunteers find that community service has its own rewards, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have perks.

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