After 28 years, the AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Program at Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands will be discontinued, effective June 30, 2023. The decision to close the program was in part due to budgetary concerns but also in part to the changing needs of older adult volunteers.
Our region boasts an abundance of non-profits most of which offer varied opportunities for volunteerism, including volunteer leadership roles, and these opportunities are widely available to individuals across the lifespan with very few barriers to entry. Increasingly, volunteers with AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP were choosing to volunteer with conservation trusts, wildlife stewardship and citizen science projects. While we agree that preservation of open space and natural habitat should be a priority for everyone in our region, these efforts lie outside the realm of Elder Services’ mission. We felt that older adult volunteers would be better supported by connecting directly with those organizations that partnered with us as volunteer stations. Happily, all of our currently participating AmeriCorps Senior RSVP volunteers have decided to stay in their volunteer assignments following the conclusion of the AmeriCorps Senior RSVP program. Although a federal grant from AmeriCorps Seniors provided partial funding for the program, Elder Services’ was required to commit significant matching funds—funds which can now be allocated to respond to other emerging community needs.
Elder Services will continue to host the Volunteer Resource Center to assist those who would like to volunteer with our agency’s Money Management, Long Term Care Ombudsman, Senior Dining or Meals-on-Wheels programs. Volunteer Resource Center Manager, Dawn Ericson-Taylor is available to also match volunteers with unique or emerging needs within Elder Services.
AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Program Director Stefanie Paventy has accepted a position with the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts where she will be providing technical assistance to farmers, nonprofits and government agencies applying for Farm Bill funded programs. Alberto Martinelli, Senior Environment Corps Field Coordinator, has decided to stay with Elder Services and has transferred to our Home Care Department as a Care Manager. Adults Benefiting Children Coordinator Ann Gallagher is “retiring for the second time” after 18 years with Elder Services. We’re grateful for the energy and creativity they devoted to nurturing the Cape Cod AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Program over the years.