The University of Maryland, as it does before the beginning of each semester, is making a plea for retired votunteers to help students with academic and career decisions. Some volunteers serve as tutors in introductory math, science or language courses. Others work on projects such as career counseling or student job development.
Volunteers attend orientation sessions to learn the university system and prepare themselves for assignments that are most suitable for their background and interest. A commitment is made to serve a minimum of three hours per week. In return volunteers receive some fringe benefits such as parking permits, library privileges and reimbursement for expenses. Most of all, they gain the satisfaction that comes from helping to personalize and to enrich university education.
Last year Lillian Harvey of Hyattsville, served as a volunteer in the office of the dean of undergraduate studies where, she said, she had challenging and satisfying experiences. She said she found young people working earnestly and conscientiously but unsure of their direction.
Harvey recalled helping a young man, who had dropped out for a year, gain a positive attitute toward continuing his education. During his earlier attendance he had felt the university was too large and impersonal for him to become known as an individual. Now he expects to finish his studies. Another case was a young man who enrolled only to please his parents. He took no part in campus activities, but counseling helped him become involved.
Individuals interested in applying for a volunteer position should contact RVSC, telephone 454-2453, or write Retired Volunteer Service Corps, 3151 Undergraduate Library, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 20742. Renee Lewis is director of this program.
There are numerous other opportunities for volunteer work. Bess Garcia of the Prince George's County Department of Aging has just issued a call for volunteer tax aides to enter training to help the elderly prepare income tax returns. Service is rendered from January to mid-April, but training is given in the fall, including seminars conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the Maryland Income Tax Division.
Requirements include "being in a retired status, having some background or knowledge in administration, accounting or income-tax preparation and agreeing to serve not less than one 4 hour day each week." To volunteer or to obtain further information, interested persons may call Bess Garcia, coordinator, telephone 350-6666, extension 524.
Several thousand persons in the Maryland suburban area serve under the Rehired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which assigns volunteers to hundreds of community agencies. In Prince George's County RSVP is coordinated by Lacothia (Happy) Garcia. One of the new projects of her office is known as Foster Friendship, a program that will provide volunteers to take nursing home residents for outings one day each week. Volunteers are being actively recruited for this program. Interested persons may call 350-6666, extension 402.
In cooperation with the Department of Aging. Prince George's Community College has completed training of 10 additional physical fitness specialists. Training sessions were conducted by Dr. Richard Mance and his associates. These volunteers will conduct physical fitness exercises for seniors throughout the county.
The Montgomery County Handbook for Senior Citizens (available from the Division of Elder Affairs, telephone 279-1487) lists six separate volunteer programs. One of these is the RSVP directed by Leslie Einhorn. This program alone coordinates the services of nearly 700 volunteers who "serve in schools, libraries, museums, courts, public and private nonprofit health and welfare agencies and many other interesting areas of need."
A new of undertaking of this program is recruiting and training nursing home residents to serve within their institutions, adding to the quality of life for themselves and fellow residents. Through their efforts additional or expanded resident activities are made possible.
Volunteers consistently report great satisfaction in what they do. Perhaps striking a common chord, one volunteer said, "If I were not a volunteer worker myself, I'd need help from others. Volunteer work keeps me going."