On Feb. 19, Fort Hays State University Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion volunteers from Barton and Pawnee Counties gathered for an in-service meeting at the Senior Center in Great Bend.
Senior Companion volunteer Grace Arner, from Albert, celebrated her second year of service with the program. Arner is one of seven Senior Companion Volunteers serving in Barton County. Those serving in Great Bend are Jodi Bybee, Theresa Hall, Juanita Lumpkins, LaDonna Lytle and Pat Scheuerman. Jackie Pritchard serves clients in Hoisington. Each of these volunteers serve between five and 40 hours per week.
Senior Companion Volunteers provide daily assistance and friendship to adults needing support which enables them to remain living in their homes as independently as possible. Companionship is one of the most important things that these volunteers are able to provide because social isolation is strongly related to poor health among the aging. Other ways they help are to provide transportation for medical appointments and essential errands such as getting groceries; sharing hobbies; and helping with meal preparation.
The Senior Companion Program provides opportunities for volunteers age 55 and over to stay active by serving in their communities. When asked why she chose to become a Senior Companion, Arner stated, “I like helping people and think it is nice to let them know someone cares.”
The programs are sponsored by Fort Hays State University and funded by the Corporation for National & Community Service, Washington, D.C. Support for these programs is also provided by the counties in which volunteers serve including Barton County. FHSU Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion volunteers serve in Barton, Ellis, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Trego, Ford, Gove, Graham, Phillips, Hodgeman, Ness and Pawnee counties.
To find out how you can volunteer, call 785-628-5809 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.