Villages of the Berkshires Volunteer Initiative
The Community Care Corps program funds are to support proposals for innovative local models in which volunteers assist family caregivers or directly assist older adults or adults with disabilities with non-medical care in order to maintain their independence and toward a goal of “aging in place”. The Community Care Corps is under the auspices of the Federal Administration for Community Living/ Admin on Aging.
As Villages of the Berkshires (VoB) begins its launch a key component is to have a corps of volunteers with the skills and services needed by our members. These services run the gamut of assistance that will enable people to remain in their own homes as they grow older and to reduce the loneliness and isolation often experienced by this population.
VoB’s grant request focuses on building an innovative model for volunteer recruitment, training and service delivery. It includes collaboration with Berkshire Community College (BCC) and specifically with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College (OLLI at BCC) and the Division of Student Affairs. As we seek volunteers to provide the services to our members, we will look to OLLI at BCC to offer their members an opportunity to work with us and/or OLLI as volunteers. Increasing the involvement of OLLI members in the community and with both organizations is a key to the success of this project.
In addition, BCC’s service learning component as part of its curriculum for students with interests in many aspects of community, health and nonprofit services will now include VoB. BCC’s academic program will offer students the opportunity to participate as volunteers as part of their course curriculum in areas that connect to VoB’s operations and services. BCC will engage faculty and students that are using course based Service Learning, a credit bearing, educational experience in which students participate in organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflects on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.
VoB’s collaboration with BCC is quite unique within the Villages movement. VoB is the only village in the nation that has formed a partnership with an OLLI organization.
With these grant funds, a Volunteer Coordinator will be hired who will oversee volunteer activities and VoB’s relationship with key collaborators. She/he will work under the supervision of VoB’s Program Director, Carolyn King. The grant also provides funds for developing a marketing plan for volunteers and members as well as aspects of the program at BCC.
For more information please contact:
Howard L. Shapiro, President
Villages of the Berkshires