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Wayne Post
  • LETTER: Harness the energy and commitment of boomers

  • With more than 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, we need to mobilize this huge source of human capital to meet the vital needs of our communities.

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  • Dyann Brown, 58, found herself in early retirement after a long career in nonprofit management. Reflecting her principles rooted in her faith, Brown looked to start giving back to share her talents and resources with her community. As an RSVP volunteer in Monroe County, she uses her skills and wisdom to provide fundraising and development consultation for Partners in Restorative justice while also providing academic support for Rochester youth at the Notre Dame learning Center. Volunteering provides Brown a way to channel her energy and talent into making Rochester a better place.
    As a baby boomer, Brown is part of a generation with tremendous potential to leave a legacy of service to others. More than 77 million strong, boomers are an extraordinary untapped resource — the largest, healthiest, best-educated generation in our nation’s history. As they approach retirement, they bring a lifetime of skills and experience to channel into tackling some of our toughest problems: poverty, illiteracy, health care, and independent living.
    With more than 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, we need to mobilize this huge source of human capital to meet the vital needs of our communities. Nonprofits must focus their efforts to attract these potential volunteers looking for a “second act” by providing leadership roles, flexibility and plan to utilize their advanced skills and talents to help the agencies fulfill their missions in the community.
    Rochester’s boomers are leading by example, ranking second nationwide with more than 40 percent of individuals ages 48 to 66 volunteering in their communities. nationwide, nearly 22 million baby boomers give their time volunteering through activities like fundraising, mentoring and tutoring youth, managing other volunteers, meeting the challenges of food insecurity, and many other activities.
    In addition to helping others, older volunteers are also helping themselves and living active, healthy lives through volunteering. Research shows that older volunteers experience lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, lower rates of depression and greater functional ability.
    Each year the Corporation for national and Community Service's Senior Corps programs engage more than 333,000 Americans ages 55+ through RSVP, the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program.
    This May the nation celebrates Older Americans Month and Senior Corps Week (May 7-11). As we recognize the contributions that older Americans have made, let’s also look to the great possibilities ahead and make sure we harness the energy and drive of this exceptional generation. Visit GetInvoloved.gov to find out how you can be part of the solution to challenges in your community.
    MARY BETH GUELDNER
    Director, RSVP of Monroe County at Lifespan
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