The first thing you hear when you retire from a full career is, “Have you thought about doing volunteer work?” The immediate image is spending hours stuffing envelopes for a charity and the usual …
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The first thing you hear when you retire from a full career is, “Have you thought about doing volunteer work?” The immediate image is spending hours stuffing envelopes for a charity and the usual response is “Well, maybe.”
Boomers Leading Change has another idea. It’s called high impact volunteerism and the point is to use skills you’ve developed during your working life. Boomers Leading Change is the only organization in Colorado coordinating AmeriCorps Encore service for people 50 and older. They’re looking for AmeriCorps members now. Each position provides a modest living allowance and other benefits.
Boomers Leading Change mobilizes people 50 and over to utilize their skills, experience, passion and energy to create positive, lasting social change. The AmeriCorps Encore program, now in its seventh year, trains people on effective ways to help Metro Denver neighbors live their healthiest lives. AmeriCorps provides a structured way to serve others and receive a modest income. However, many AmeriCorps members say that, by serving others, they gain a powerful sense of purpose in their own lives.
Kathi Brewer is now in her second year as an AmeriCorps member at Centura St. Anthony North Health Campus in Westminster serving as a patient navigator. She works on an Integrated Care Team that includes a nurse, dietitian, social worker and other professionals.
“What we do is not really medical care but it is tied to medical care in that we help people meet their wellness goals,” says Brewer.
Kathi assists people with smoking cessation, diet improvement and exercise plans. Her own background as a social worker helps her provide resources and support individuals’ motivation to make changes so that medical care succeeds.
“I like getting into the more difficult cases and just listen to people in the moment so that they get the help they need to make even small changes,” Brewer says.
Her greatest satisfaction comes from drawing on her experience to help others. “It’s gratifying to see people make changes. With so much going on in their lives, like a serious medical diagnosis, it’s good to see them benefit from even a little bit of change.”
For her AmeriCorps service, Brewer receives a small monthly stipend and also earns an education award, which she herself can use or she can transfer to a family member. She is donating her education award to her son to help him complete his education.
Boomers Leading Change coordinates AmeriCorps positions at a variety of organizations across Metro Denver. Currently, AmeriCorps has half-time positions open at: Centura St. Anthony North Health Campus, Colorado Health Network and the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning.
AmeriCorps members help under-served populations overcome barriers to health care. Duties can include providing support and guidance to people with health risks, assisting clients in understanding their options for benefits, providing health education, coaching patients and linking community members to health-related resources. Extensive training is provided.
If you are interested and would like to apply, contact Susan Kayler-Daley at Boomers Leading Change at 303-426-6637 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit boomersleadingchange.org for more information.
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