The Department of Elder Affairs is the first state unit on aging in the country to have a statutorily mandated office that focuses on volunteer issues and promotes volunteer programs throughout the state. The Office of Volunteer and Community Services certified Volunteer Manager works with a number of organizations that provide valuable services by and for elders as well as intergenerational volunteer opportunities.
The Office of Volunteer and Community Services within the Communities for a Lifetime Bureau can assist you with volunteer program development, volunteer management training and certification, volunteer recruitment, program promotion and volunteer recognition. The department also serves as a clearinghouse for information on the following topics:
- Developing Volunteer Coalitions
- Volunteer Diversity
- Employee/Volunteer Relationships
- Episodic Volunteering
- Evaluation – Program and Volunteer
- Intergenerational Volunteer Programs
- Volunteer Risk Management
- Elder Sensitivity
- Supervising Volunteers
- Volunteer Boards
The Communities for a Lifetime Bureau and the Office of Volunteer and Community Services bring together elders with opportunities to share their knowledge and experience. The department is committed to building an elder and volunteer-friendly environment in every community throughout the state of Florida. Volunteers enhance their own lives as well as the lives of those they serve. With committed volunteers, communities can offer a wider variety of services that would otherwise be unavailable.
In today's world, there is no limit to the variety and forms of voluntary services community members are able to provide. There is no age restriction to volunteering. Older and younger people, who form the cornerstones of our communities are connecting to share time and experiences. Communities for a Lifetime are encouraged to promote civic engagement by capturing both the diversity of voluntary services and the spirit of volunteering that motivates people to make a difference in their communities every day.
The scope of volunteer activities ranges from local, traditional involvement to engagement statewide. More details are available in the Volunteer Opportunities and Partnerships flier. Department volunteers provide a wide range of services including:
- Adult day care
- Home repair
- Health insurance counseling
- Shopping assistance
- Information and referral
- Home delivery of meals
- In-home respite
- Telephone reassurance
- Advisory board membership
- Health and wellness promotion
- Program planning
- Clerical duties
Intergenerational Connections – Cornerstones of Our Community
Intergenerational Connections is the purposeful bringing together of different generations in ongoing and mutually beneficial activities such as mentoring and volunteerism. Youth and seniors share their talents and resources, supporting each other in relationships that benefit the individuals and the community.
Today's multi-generational households capture both the life experience of their elders and the eagerness of their youth. Our communities can and should engage this principle to enhance resources and provide vital services to improve all residents' quality of life. New ideas and energy are created from collaboration between the generations.
Intergenerational programs and activities build a greater understanding between young people and older adults, promoting an appreciation for the things people of different ages can share with one another. Through its statewide outreach efforts, the department strives to foster the development of meaningful and symbiotic relationships among elders and youth alike, wherein members of different generations help one another learn about practical life skills and a variety of other subjects.
The Department of Elder Affairs serves as a resource for communities throughout Florida, working to create local programs and services that cross generational boundaries. The Communities for a Lifetime initiative plays a large role in helping to promote an intergenerational focus at the local level by encouraging local officials and community leaders to consider the needs of all residents in areas such as housing, transportation, employment, health and wellness. The initiative provides inspiration and technical support to cities, towns and counties to develop and maintain intergenerational programs that benefit each community.
Benefits of Intergenerational Connections
- Improved relations between young and older adults; as individuals learn more about each other, stereotypes and barriers to interaction disappear.
- Positive effect on problems - family problems (as evidenced by the increasing rate of juvenile offenses) can often spill over into the community, and with devastating consequences. When generations work together, everyone wins.
- Empowered communities - people begin to care about each other.
Intergenerational programs give us the opportunity to bridge these vantage points, creating a strong sense of community and an appreciation for the contributions of each group. Communities for a Lifetime are where these connections flourish. Intergenerational programs and activities, by their very nature, address issues of family across the life cycle. Further, they foster a willingness to cross disciplinary and cultural boundaries to solve problems.
The long-term benefits derived from supporting Intergenerational Connections are the following: increased services to all ages; coordinated resource sharing and improved communication between programs that currently serve elders and programs that serve youth; and the creation of an atmosphere where elders and youth working and socializing together are the norms - not the exception.
For information on how to start an intergenerational program in your area contact the department's Intergenerational Coordinator at 850- 414-2086.
For more information about the Office of Volunteer and Community Services or Intergenerational Connections contact:
Department of Elder Affairs
Director, Office of Volunteer and Community Services
4040 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-7000
Phone: 850- 414-2373
Fax: 850- 414-2372
Or you may e-mail us at:
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