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Volunteer Program at Amherst Senior Center Wins Program of Excellence Award! | Community Spirit

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Volunteer Program at Amherst Senior Center Wins Program of Excellence Award!
Volunteer Program at Amherst Senior Center Wins Program of Excellence Award!

The Volunteer Services Program  at the Amherst Center for Senior Services was recently named the recipient of the Network in Aging’s 2012 Program Award of Excellence.  The award was presented at the Network in Aging’s 32nd Annual Meeting & Conference held on November 1, 2012 at Samuel’s Grande Manor in Williamsville.

This impressive award recognized the 1,686 seniors who are a part of the Volunteer Services Program at the Amherst Center for Senior Services, which was established in 1962 with one of its main goals: “To enable members who want to give of themselves to work on community services projects, both in and out of the center.”

That has remained a top goal at the Center which has developed an outstanding Volunteer Services Program for the senior population of this community.  Members of the Center are always invited to be part of the Volunteer Program.  There is a dedicated team on staff at the Center who work with each senior, one-on-one, to make a volunteer placement happen.

“Many seniors don’t know where to start when it comes to volunteering and may not realize what valuable assets they could bring to a position,” noted Jodi Kwarta, Director of Volunteer Services at the Amherst Center for Senior Services.

New volunteers can choose to volunteer right at the Center where there are dozens of options ranging from positions at the Welcome Desk, Gift Shop and Audubon Café.  These volunteers are trained and spend time with current center volunteers “shadowing” them.  All volunteers are briefed in a positive code of conduct that emphasizes respect for diversity.

Volunteers may also choose to work at over 80 agencies in the community where relationships have already been established by the Center.  Staff connects new volunteers with an agency and gets the process underway.  These agencies include American Cancer Society, Buffalo Zoo, Literacy Volunteers, Niagara Frontier Radio Reading, Women & Children’s Hospital, Brothers of Mercy and Shea’s Performing Arts Center. 

These 1,686 senior performed over 96,490 hours of service in the community in 2011.  Based on current minimum wage, that represents $699,552.50 in savings to the community.  These volunteers bring amazing business and life experience to their volunteer work ~ making them far more valuable than any dollar amount.

“You have changed my life,” Kwarta has heard countless times from volunteers who are enjoying their new purpose and renewed interest in life, thanks to their volunteer work.  The Center honors their volunteers annually at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon which is held each May and coincides with National Older Americans Month.

The Network in Aging’s mission is to help members enhance their efforts to improve the quality of life for older persons and their families by providing them with opportunities for resource exchange, professional development, and stimulation of interdisciplinary collaboration. For more information, visit www.networkinaging.com.

For more information or to join the Amherst Center for Senior Services, please call 636-3055 or visit www.amherst.ny.us

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