Ed and Mary Ann Brannan of Mandeville, LA, made it a point when they retired to stay involved in their community. More than ten years ago they began volunteering through Volunteers of America’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), each pursuing opportunities that fit their individual interests and skills. They volunteer, on average, a combined twenty-five hours per week.
Ed dedicates time each week to our Faith In Action volunteer option, which focuses on transporting senior citizens who are unable to drive themselves to doctors’ appointments, grocery stores, and other essential errands and tasks. Ed happened upon this opportunity years ago when a neighbor asked him to fill in as a temporary volunteer while the neighbor was away. Ed agreed, and was soon hooked on the rewarding experience of serving others in need. He decided to continue transporting his fellow seniors, and over the years has made new and lifelong friendships with those he serves and their families.
Mary Ann enjoys serving as a volunteer in several capacities, including her RSVP assignment working as a hospice volunteer with St. Tammany Hospital Hospice. She currently visits with a particular hospice patient every week, sitting with the patient when family members need a break, and listening to the patient’s entertaining stories about her relatives. Mary Ann notes that although some may see hospice volunteering as challenging or sad, she sees it as a much-needed service that supports patients and their families during a most profound time of need.
The Brannans feel strongly that the personal benefits they receive from volunteering are significant. They have met a variety of interesting individuals through their volunteer work, and have made many friendships with those whom they’ve served throughout the years. A strong sense of personal fulfillment from their volunteer work is, in part, why they’ve both continued serving for over a decade.
Ed aims to encourage other seniors to volunteer and “experience the great things you get out of volunteering, as well as the many ways you can contribute.” He hopes that more seniors will become aware of the needs of the community and embrace the exceptional benefits that come from volunteering as a senior adult.
To learn more about our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program click here.
On Saturday, October 2, our Mentoring Children of Promise program hosted its annual picnic in Metairie’s Lafreniere Park. The Mentoring program provides adult mentors who offer young people of incarcerated parents support, friendship, reinforcement, and a constructive example. Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Marlin Gusman and Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand (pictured) were in attendance and handed out Junior Deputy Sheriff Certificates to the mentees at the picnic. Approximately 350 mentees and 350 mentors attended the event, which included snowballs, face painting, a spacewalk, rock climbing, sack races and lots of food. Thanks so much to our mentors, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s office, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office, and to Lafreniere Park for hosting the event!
If you’d like to become a mentor to a child with an incarcerated parent, please contact Sherlyn Hughes at 504-836-8700.
Click here to read a piece from WWL about New Orleans’ mental health delivery system post-Katrina, featuring Rebecca Thees, our Coordinator of Disaster Related Services.
Click here to read a piece from the Times-Picayune about mental health issues in post-Katrina New Orleans, also featuring Rebecca Thees.
On Saturday, August 21, a check for $1,072,784, representing the value of the service hours performed by members of our Retired Senior Volunteer Program, was presented to the St. Tammany Parish Presidents’ Office. The check was accepted by John Tobin, Director of Social Services for St. Tammany Parish (pictured right of our CEO Jim LeBlanc). The presentation was held during Volunteers of America’s annual St. Tammany Parish Recognition Luncheon, held at the Fleur de Lis Event Center in Mandeville for participants in RSVP. In attendance were Volunteers of America CEO Jim LeBlanc and 164 RSVP Volunteers from across St. Tammany Parish. Dancing, lunch and socializing followed the presentation. Our Retired Senior Volunteer Program offers a variety of service opportunities for volunteers 55 and older to use their skills and life experiences to help meet critical needs across St. Tammany Parish.
RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of Volunteers of America recently hosted a Get Acquainted Coffee at the Summerfield Retirement Community. Attendees received information about RSVP and the Faith in Action programs of Volunteers of America. Deputy Eddie Vauthier of the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office did a presentation on personal safety (pictured on the left). Lou Kennedy and Jacqueline Chadwick of the American Red Cross presented information on preparing for hurricanes and other disasters.
NEXT Get Acquainted Coffee is scheduled for July 29, 2010. It will be held at the Christwood Residential Community located at 100 Christwood Boulevard, Covington, LA 70433-4606 from 9:30-11:30. Join us to learn about the many volunteer opportunities available in St. Tammany Parish. Attendees will also hear presentations on personal safety and disaster preparation. Light refreshments will also be served.