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Could Successful MN Senior Program Be On the Chopping Block?

Could Successful MN Senior Program Be On the Chopping Block? Click to Enlarge Photo:

May 22, 2017 at 12:26 pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- About 240,000 volunteers over age 55 are being honored this month by the Corporation for National and Community Service - including some in Minnesota. And the program is looking for more recruits, even as its future is uncertain. 

The agency runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps - programs that, in the last quarter-century, have placed more than 1 million people in positions helping others. This month, retirees in the Senior Corps program are being honored. 

Agency spokeswoman Samantha Warfield said volunteers help teach children to read, serve as foster grandparents, and act as companions for other seniors who need help living independently. 

"You know, Americans are living longer and achieving even more, and entering sort of a 'second act,'" Warfield said. "And so because of that, we think it's an untapped resource for nonprofits and community organizations across the country. "

President Donald Trump's budget proposal suggested cutting the Corporation for National and Community Service. It's one of 19 agencies on the chopping block in order to boost military spending. 

Minnesota has nearly 12,000 Senior Corps volunteers who serve as tutors for more than 3,300 young people, and help at 1,400 local organizations. Warfield said she believes everyone has something to offer, no matter what expertise they bring to the field. 

"They may decide that they are really antsy to use their professional skills that they spent so long developing," she said. "But there also may be volunteers who don't want to do what they've done their whole lives, and maybe they have a passion for gardening or music."

Warfield said Minnesota volunteers last year helped nearly 1,300 home-bound seniors and people with disabilities. Most receive a small stipend for their hours of service. 

Information is available online at nationalservice.gov.

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