Volunteers touch the community in so many ways. They serve as the safety net for older adults who have no one else to check in on them. They give one-on-one support to at-risk youth who are struggling with reading. They help with the upkeep of cherished cultural institutions and keep history and the arts alive and well. The positive impact volunteers have on the community cannot be overstated.
Currently, more than 1,600 volunteers serve our community through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the Senior Volunteers in Action (SVA) program, sponsored by the County of San Diego Aging and Independence Services (AIS). To thank them for their incredible work, AIS invited every senior volunteer that serves these programs to attend a recognition event, held this past May. Hundreds of senior volunteers attended the event and were treated to hors d’oeurvres, entertainment, and opportunity drawings to let them know how much their service is appreciated.
Whether at a local senior center, Sheriff’s station, museum, school, or non-profit organization, RSVP/SVA volunteers served a combined 493,000 hours valued at $13 million over the past year.
The event celebrated their valuable contributions and their commitment to a community that values serving others and brought light to the fact that volunteering is linked to better health as one ages. Older volunteers enjoy greater levels of wellbeing, increased strength and energy, and lower rates of depression. It is thought that the health benefits arise from the increased physical, social, and mental activity that accompanies most volunteer roles. The positive impact of serving others may be even more influential than factors such as income, education level, or marriage in promoting health. Research suggests that it is not just that healthier individuals choose to volunteer, but that the act of volunteering itself is responsible for these benefits.
Those interested in volunteering for the RSVP/SVA programs can contact the senior volunteer team at Aging & Independence Services. Staff carefully consider each volunteer’s interests and preferences and help to identify the perfect opportunity to serve. Keep the celebration of service to others and the benefits of good health going all year round; volunteer.
For more information, please contact the volunteer office at: (858) 505-6399 or email Armida Martinez.