As More and More Older Americans Are Finding That Helping Others Helps Them, Seabrook Volunteers Have Held This Secret for Years
TINTON FALLS, NJ - According to USA Today, Baby Boomers are important volunteers, and they are impressive in number - an astounding 77 million. May is Older Americans Month and it is wonderful time to celebrate the impact that this cohort make within society, including the volunteer work that they do to make life better for others.
Seniors are living longer, healthier lives and they bring life experiences, skills and passion to the work that they continue to do.
At Seabrook, seniors have been volunteering en masse for more than 12 years now, leaving a significant mark on volunteerism in Monmouth County by helping a whole host of non-profits.
In 2011, approximately 450 Seabrook volunteers alone cumulatively produced nearly 10,000 volunteer hours - assisting agencies, non-profits, schools and organizations such as:
Meals on Wheels, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Bradley Food Pantry, Red Cross, United Way, ARC of Monmouth, New Jersey Special Olympics, Bridges at the Shore, Toys for Tots, SPCA, Visiting Nurse Association and the Mahala F. Atchison School.
Rowena Madden, executive director of the Governor's Office of Volunteerism recently addressed a group of approximately 200 Seabrook volunteers where she thanked them on behalf of Governor Chris Christie for their service.
Ms. Madden said, "My experience at Seabrook and, at other retirement communities, shows how vital the volunteer work of senior citizens is within the local community. At Seabrook alone, I met talented individuals who are currently doing volunteer work - sharing their creative talents with the wider community."
"Baby Boomers will be a focus later this year at the Governor's Volunteer Conference in October because they bring so much professional and life experience through their volunteer work and they are at a time in their life where they are giving back to the community," Madden said.
Seabrook resident Vera Ciavaglia, who helps fundraise for various programs at Jersey Shore Medical Center, including one that helps pay for mammography programs for underserved women within the area, said that volunteering is a critical part of her life.
"I love to help people, especially those that cannot afford the basic necessities," Mrs. Ciavaglia said. "I have been working as a volunteer for many years and gain so much satisfaction out of it. I will keep on going as long as I can and help as many people as I can."
Our residents take immense pride in the volunteer work that they do to help their friends and neighbors in need," said Art Sparks, Seabrook executive director. "Whether it is creating blankets for children, volunteering at the local food bank, making sandwiches for the hungry or donating goods to people that can use some extra support, more and more seniors are finding it within themselves to make a difference."
"When you look at the fact that the number of volunteer hours are upwards of 10,000, it tells a story that volunteerism is a significant part of the Seabrook community," said Ann Marie Matthews, Seabrook volunteer program coordinator. "Residents, who are 'retired' essentially find that there is satisfaction in their golden years, and working helps keep them active, healthy and makes them feel like they are continuing to contribute to society."
In 2011, Seabrook residents were involved in the following:
- 1,800 pounds of food was donated to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
- More than 300 sandwiches made for Bridges at the Shore.
- 300 handmade baby blankets donated to children in need.
- Nearly 1,000 items were donated to troops serving in the Middle East.
- 457 turkeys donated through the Turkey Trot.
- More than 1,000 toys donated through Toys for Tots.
- Seabrook residents worked with eight ARC athletes prepared for the Special Olympics at Seabrook.
More than 1,400 people live at Seabrook, an Erickson Living full-service retirement community that promotes a vibrant lifestyle. Erickson Living develops and manages 16 full-service retirement communities that provide worry-free living for America's seniors - the country's fastest-growing population segment.