CADIZ - The Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) is looking for a few good senior volunteers.
Kirk Guisti, the COAD Area I Coordinator, is on the hunt for seniors wishing to volunteer their time and companionship in a pair of his organization's highly successful programs - the senior companion and foster grandparent programs.
If you are 55 years of age and older and meet the program guidelines, this could be the perfect opportunity to get out and about while earning a small stipend in the process.
"With the economy, volunteers have been needed more as much now for financial reasons just as much for personal gain," Guisti said. "The cost of living has gone up, vehicle insurance, personal health care and property taxes but the pensions haven't been going up to match.
"This is almost like a second job for some of our volunteers."
For the foster grandparent program, Guisti is especially looking for volunteers to work with the children at Union Local Elementary School in Morristown.
Volunteers will be assigned up to five children in a classroom under the direction of th teacher.
These particular children may need a little extra one-on-one time, according to Guisti, working on their daily educational and social skills needs.
Volunteers will receive a tax-free stipend that does not adversely affect any social services benefits the volunteers may be receiving.
They will also be reimbursed for mileage driven to and from home, including to the school and any other program function attended.
"Union Local is one of our newer sites and we've only been there since last year," Guisti said. "A couple of teachers asked if we could get some more volunteers."
Volunteers work in ranges from 24-40 hours per week. It depends on how much time they want to dedicate. Guisti also noted he has volunteers just over the age limit and some much older, still going strong and helping out the kids.
"They are out there, active and still making an impact," Guisti said. "Our oldest volunteer is 93 and she still serves 32 hours per week in New Philadelphia."
The program is also a bonus to cash-strapped school districts who could use the assistance in overflowing classrooms but lack the funding to hire assistants.
"A lot of those districts don't have the money to hire assistants. I'm sure they would but because of budget cuts, they have to go with what they have," Guisti said.
Guisti also noted that COAD will not insert a volunteer in the place of a paid district employee.
Volunteers help the adults with their daily living needs. They can also simply be there as a friend, offering an attentive ear.
Some of the needs that may be assisted with are fixing a light lunch and helping with light house chores like dusting or laundry. Volunteers can also arrange for a trip to the local seniors center or a trip to the mall.
Volunteers can also provide respite care for personal caregivers to allow them to leave the home for short periods of time to take care of personal business.
If you are interested in this program, please contact the COAD Area I Senior Programs Office; Kirk Guisti Area I Coordinator; P. O. Box 176 in Cadiz, OH 43907 By phone: (330) 987-7232 or- (740) 942-8886 ext.: 205. By email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may visit the COAD website at www.coadinc.org. The Area I office covers Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas Counties.
Hughes may be reached at email@example.com