Chelsea's Senior Moments and the Powerhouse of Volunteerism


There are smiles all around as senior volunteers provide program and organizational support to local organizations. Courtesy CSC.

By Maurine Nelson, CSC

Senior moments are everywhere in Chelsea! What are these moments? They are seniors, aged 55 plus, helping numerous organizations provide programs to all by volunteering their time and skills. The benefit to individual senior volunteers is well-documented. They benefit from the socialization and the sense of accomplishment in lending their experience and providing a sense of purpose, and social interaction. One recent Chelsea volunteer declared, “Volunteering saved my life!” But how do the organizations benefit? Are the volunteers’ contributions helpful? Necessary? A sampling of several organizations found that 50 to 95 percent of all programs implemented by Chelsea organizations are supported by senior volunteers.

Senior volunteers also provide valuable time to the implementation of programs so it saves money for the organization. Seniors serving on committees and within the organization share expertise from their previous occupations, and help organizations to formulate meaningful and needed programming.

Volunteers also:

Fold, label, and process all mail that goes out to the community from the organization;

Provide “on-call” last-minute help on a daily basis;

Help with all functions of the organization, such as clerical tasks, answering phones, and providing an extra set of eyes on program development.

Bill O’Reilly, Executive Director of the Chelsea Senior Center said, “We could not be who we are and serve the population we do without the substantial help from senior volunteers.” Another executive declared, “We could not survive without senior volunteers; the entire organization and its service to others is implemented by volunteers.”

Recruiting volunteers is challenging in today’s ‘busy’ environment. However, a majority of the volunteers don’t need a specific skill set, only a willingness to help out and a desire to do a good job. When necessary, on-the-job training is provided by an organizational volunteer coordinator. A few positions working with vulnerable people may require background checks or meeting program requirements.

Primary recruiting venues include:

1. Online advertising on social media, website information, word of mouth, and newsletters;

  • 2. Inviting individuals to join a member drive;
  • 3. Announcements at organizational meetings;
  • 4. Advertising specific tasks in a local news publication.

More than 30 organizations and associations in the Chelsea area depend on volunteer support to maintain their level of program offerings. Direct calls to organizations about volunteer opportunities are always welcomed, and The Silver Solutions Network can assist in connecting potential volunteers to appropriate organizations. For more information call Silver Solutions Network at 734-274-1568.

The “Senior Moment” feature highlights opportunities for older adults through the Chelsea Senior Center and related organizations.

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