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Massachusetts charity reaches out to senior volunteers

December 12, 2012

Volunteering and heading back to school have become popular parts of senior living, and one Massachusetts-based program has helped older adults do both at the same time. Known as Generations Incorporated (GI), the program connects seniors with local students for one-on-one tutoring sessions, according to the Bay State Banner.

GI is an affiliate of AARP's Experience Corps, and seniors who volunteer play a vital role in helping the Boston school system. Experts say program participants help at-risk students improve their reading, and in doing so find a way to stay active and engaged during retirement.

For Charlotte Rose, 77, helping children is what has kept her coming back for nine years.

"You come [into a kindergarten class] and some kids can't read," she told the newspaper. "Next year they are. I just like seeing how the kids progress."

Aside from providing seniors with a chance to give back to the community, GI is unique in that it fosters relationships between the volunteers themselves. Known as the "Act of Aging Initiative," GI encourages seniors to spend time together outside of the school, even if it's something as simple as a cup of coffee to catch up.

Older adults are some of the most committed volunteers in the country, according to figures from the Corporation for National and Community Service. In fact, about one in four adults over 55 volunteer each year, donating approximately 3 billion hours of service in the process.

Though seniors can benefit from volunteering, it would also behoove charities to reach out to older adults. Aside from being committed to charitable causes, seniors are a good fit because they come with a lifetime of skills and experience that other people may not have, notes AARP.