Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Communication

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Communication

¬†I recently read an article from the LA Times, that was run in the Living section of the Trenton Times on July 3rd. It was titled ‚ÄúGrandma, you’ve got mail‚Äù and told the story of seniors taking computer classes. The article was very interesting and there were some great quotes from both the student volunteers teaching the courses and the seniors taking advantage of them.

We’ve known for awhile that there is a “digital divide” among the generations. Certainly there are some more mature users of such technology was email, cell phones and even Facebook, gasp! But there are also those older adults that either fear the computer, or just have no interest. One quote from the LA Times piece that really caught my attention was this, “It scares me”, Edythe Eisenberg said of her iPad. “But when I call my kids and grand kids they don’t call me back, so I have to use e-mail.” This really touched me as a sad aspect of our growing reliance on computer technology and non-verbal communication.

I think technology is great and offering seniors a chance to learn how to use and not fear some of these new technologies is also great, if they want them. However, those of us that are caught up in the fast paced world of communicating with our friends and colleagues through mostly email, text or online chats should not forget the seniors in our lives that want to hear from us. Your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather shouldn’t feel forced to use a technology they don‚Äôt like just because it is the only way to hear from you. Pick up the phone and say, ‚Äúhey, how are you today?‚Äù Don‚Äôt miss that chance to learn something, help out with something or just connect, with an actual voice. It will be good for them and for you.

Technology is good for those who like it, but let’s remember to communicate to each other in the best way possible, which sometimes may be using the old fashioned telephone or dropping by for a face to face. But by all means if you grandma wants to be on Facebook, teach her how to get online! Who knows, maybe she’ll log on to match.com!

Volunteers in NJ

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Volunteering in NJ

Data from 2007 and 2008 showed that about 26% of the American population volunteered. This, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics means that over 61 million people volunteered between 2007 and 2008. Volunteers were fairly evenly distributed over the age groupings of 35-44 (31%), 45-54 (29.9%) and 55 to 64 represents 28% of the volunteer pool.  A 2009 study by The Hartford, used this data, they state that those 50 and over are more likely to make donations of money rather than time.

In 2008 1.5 million New Jersey residents volunteered, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Of those who volunteered, 21.5% were 55-64 and 18.5% were 65-74, while just 17.3% were 75 or over. The largest group of volunteers was 35-44 at almost 26%.

Both studies indicate that volunteer activities vary among age groups as well. Many young adults volunteer to work with children, such as tutoring or mentoring. Coaching sports seems to appeal to  middle aged volunteers, while managerial or professional tasks are common for young retirees. Those retirees are also more likely to continue volunteering if the tasks are managerial versus labor or transportation. Older adults often state that they are more likely to volunteer without a set schedule.

Some barriers for older adults when it comes to volunteering are:

Unaware of volunteer opportunities- they just don’t know where or how to volunteer

Economic barriers- either having to choose a paid position over a volunteer one, or not being able to afford the costs associated with volunteering.

Lack of transportation- unable to get to places to volunteer.

Fears and worries- for physical safety or personal injury.

We’d love to hear from you! Do you volunteer? If so, in what way and why do you still do it? If not, why? What do  you see as  barriers to volunteering?