Volunteering during retirement with the Senior Corps

Three programs (and 3 alternatives) available to retirees 55 and over

By Dennis LaMantia
Freelance Writer

Although the term ‘Senior Corps’ might make you think of traditional retirement, the corps members are anything but traditional. They are mentors, caretakers, companions, repair people and women who commit their time and expertise to helping others.

In Council Bluffs, IA, Senior Corps volunteers collected snacks and candy to send to U.S. troops serving overseas1. Virginia McLaurin was welcomed to the White House in 2016 – then 106 years old – to recognize her twenty-plus years of nearly daily service in the Senior Corps2.

The Senior Corps is one of three programs operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service (the others are AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund). The initiative was created during John F. Kennedy’s administration and currently has over 270,000 volunteers3.

The Senior Corps includes three programs for volunteers:

  • Foster Grandparents – Volunteers in this role can work from 15 – 40 hours per week as role models, mentors and friends to children in their community. You could work in a range of settings, from schools to juvenile correctional institutions. Foster Grandparents can work with organizations that promote literacy, provide mentoring and help abused or neglected children4.
  • RSVP – From home renovations to neighborhood watch organizers, RSVP volunteers are the utility players in the Senior Corps. In this role, you can also work for a few hours a week all the way up to a full-time schedule. You could find yourself in a classroom teaching or out in the field assisting victims of disaster5.
  • Senior Companions – If you’re a nurturing type, this role could be perfect for you. Senior Companions provide assistance and friendship to adults who have difficulty with activities of daily living (e.g., shopping or paying bills). By volunteering as a Senior Companion, you could help someone in your community avoid expensive senior care facilities and give their other caretakers a well-deserved break6.
You could find yourself in a classroom teaching or out in the field assisting victims of disaster.

The Senior Corps is open to volunteers who are 55 years or older and can serve 15 – 40 hours per week and pass a background check.

Other Options
If you’re interested in volunteering but think the commitment required by the Senior Corps is too much, there are alternatives.

For many people, living the #RetirementYouWant involves volunteering. In additional to making you feel good, volunteering is linked to lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression7. If you’re looking for an opportunity to use your knowledge and time to improve the lives of others, the Senior Corps might just be for you.

It’s great to help others when you retire but first make sure you have a financial plan for yourself. Visit www.jackson.com to learn more.

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Dennis LaMantia is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

  1. Johnson, T. (January 12, 2017). Senior Corps program to collect goods for U.S. troops stationed overseas. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved from http://www.omaha.com/news/goodnews/senior-corps-program-to-collect-goods-for-u-s-troops/article_49e7c608-d826-11e6-a0ae-ebc3b1887abd.html
  2. n.a. (March 11, 2016). Internet Sensation, 106-year-old Dancing Grandma Receives President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Service. Corporation for National & Community Service. https://www.nationalservice.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/internet-sensation-106-year-old-dancing-grandma-receives-president%E2%80%99s
  3. n.a. Senior Corps. Corporation for National & Community Service. Retrieved from https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps
  4. n.a. Foster Grandparents. Corporation for National & Community Service. Retrieved from https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/senior-corps-programs/foster-grandparents
  5. n.a. RSVP. Corporation for National & Community Service. Retrieved from - https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/senior-corps-programs/rsvp
  6. n.a. Senior Companions. Corporation for National & Community Service. Retrieved from https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/senior-corps-programs/senior-companions
  7. n.a. (February 16, 2016). The Health Benefits of Volunteering. Corporation for National & Community Service. Retrieved from https://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/evidence-exchange/Health-Benefits-of-Volunteering

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