Promoting Volunteerism in Older Americans Act Programs
Each year, more than 10 million people receive services under the Older Americans Act. Delivery of these services largely depends on the efforts of volunteers who:
Assist at group meal sites and delivering meals to home-bound seniors;
- Escort and transport older persons to health care services;
- Repair and weatherize the homes of low-income and frail older persons;
- Counsel in a variety of areas including health, nutrition, legal matters, and financial concerns; and
- Serve as nursing home ombudsmen to help ensure the safety and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities.
AoA is working to support the use of volunteers in OAA programs and to provide expanded opportunities for older adults and others to get involved in their communities. Current AoA efforts include coordination with the Corporation for National and Community Service and support for the Aging Network’s Volunteer Cooperative.
Promoting Civic Engagement for People with Disabilities and Their Families
A number of ACL programs promote civic engagement for people with disabilities:
- Help America Vote Act (HAVA) programs are designed to establish and improve participation in the election process for individuals with the full range of disabilities. HAVA programs, including Protection and Advocacy programs, promote voting accessibility, educate people with disabilities, and protect voting rights.
- State Councils on Developmental Disabilities promote and support advocacy, systems change and capacity building for people with developmental disabilities and their families. At least 60% of Council members are required to be people with disabilities or their families. Many Councils support programs like Partners in Policymaking that promote civic engagement and work collaboratively with Developmental Disabilities Act partners to promote self-advocacy.
Agreement with the Corporation for National and Community Service
The OAA Amendments of 2006 called for AoA to coordinate with the Corporation for National and Community Service to encourage volunteer and civic engagement activities for all ages in supportive services and community capacity-building initiatives. ACL and the Corporation for National and Community Service have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the development of collaborative activities to help modernize the way public and nonprofit organizations use older adults and persons with disabilities as volunteers.
The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative
AoA supports the Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative located within the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The Collaborative aggregates, synthesizes, and disseminates research and proven volunteer engagement practices through training, coaching, and technical assistance. Visit http://agingnetworkvolunteercollaborative.org/ to learn more about the Collaborative.
The Collaborative also supports the Got an Hour? Campaign. The campaign was developed to help local agencies throughout the country attract volunteers to programs that work with seniors. The campaign provides downloadable materials, webinars, and a search tool (powered by VolunteerMatch.org) to help connect prospective volunteers with opportunities and programs in their neighborhood. Visit http://www.giveitbacktoseniors.org/ to learn more and access campaign materials.
- Resources and Useful Links
Corporation for National and Community Service - The Corporation is a Federal agency that supports service and volunteering. Through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, the Corporation provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to address critical community needs.
Volunteering and Civic Life in America – The website provides a comprehensive look at volunteering and civic life in the 50 states and 51 cities across the country. Data includes volunteer rates and rankings, civic engagement trends, and analysis.
Points of Light – National organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through affiliates in 250 cities across more than 30 countries and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages millions of volunteers each year.
Eldercare Locator - To locate volunteer opportunities in Older Americans Act programs visit
Serve.gov - The website is a comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities across the country and around the world.
Volunteer Match - Volunteer Match is a national nonprofit that helps individuals find volunteer opportunities by location, interest area, and/or keyword.