Department of Aging Hosts Volunteer Symposium to Recognize and Engage Network of Volunteers – Pennsylvania Pressroom

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) today hosted the virtual 2022 Volunteer Symposium, which engaged current and potential volunteers and volunteer coordinators in the aging network. The symposium recognized those individuals who give their time and talent by volunteering to provide services offered by the department through 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). It also presented professional development for volunteer coordinators to support their efforts in volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition.

“Volunteers within our aging network allow us to deliver vital services that we may not otherwise be able to provide. Their many hours of service help us to serve hundreds of thousands of older adults through the department’s programs administered by local AAAs,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “People who volunteer tend to live longer, more vital lives; are more connected, and have lower rates of depression than those who don’t. The work that our volunteers do is a win-win — good for others and good for them.”

The symposium was held during National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in their communities. The virtual volunteer appreciation kicked off with a video message from Governor Tom Wolf and remarks from Secretary Torres, who both commended the volunteers for the thousands of selfless service hours that they give every year to support older Pennsylvanians.

The morning session featured a panel of volunteers who shared their personal experiences volunteering with the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman, PA MEDI, PA Council on Aging, Senior Community Centers, Health & Wellness, Foster Grandparent, and Home-Delivered Meals programs. The discussion was followed by a presentation on self-care strategies for volunteers by Dr. Kristen Dillion, a geropsychologist at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Massachusetts. The afternoon session gathered volunteer coordinators within the network and featured a presentation on the do’s and don’ts of volunteer recruitment and cost-effective ways to say thank you by Sidney Schuttrow, CVA, Director of Volunteer Engagement, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

“I would like to thank Kristen and Sidney for being a part of our Volunteer Symposium and sharing their invaluable expertise. They helped our current group of volunteers seek the best ways to care for themselves while caring for others and provided a great foundation for helping us grow and retain our current group of volunteers,” said Susan Neff, PDA Education and Outreach Office supervisor. “We, along with the consumers they serve, are so grateful for our volunteers and volunteer coordinators and the tireless work they do every day. I hope this symposium inspired everyone who attended and informed those who may be new to volunteering about the opportunities available and which programs might be the best fit for them.”

Learn more about volunteer opportunities by visiting the Department of Aging’s website.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, Aging: agingcomms@pa.gov

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