Tribune Print Share Text

Title

Cheers to volunteers

Here’s to your health

Created date

April 13th, 2016
(From left) Seabrook Volunteer Program Coordinator Judy Seger awards Marcia and Bill Rubin the M.O.V.E.R. Award for volunteer service, alongside Associate Executive Director Todd Delaney.

(From left) Seabrook Volunteer Program Coordinator Judy Seger awards Marcia and Bill Rubin the M.O.V.E.R. Award for volunteer service, alongside Associate Executive Director Todd Delaney.

It’s National Volunteer Month—a time to improve your health.

Health?

Yes, that’s right, health. According to the Corporation of National and Community Service, a growing body of research indicates a strong relationship between volunteering and health. The research indicates that those who volunteer experience lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

That’s not news to Erickson Living Director of Operations Jeff Watson. He says volunteering is “part of what makes for a happy, constructive, enjoyed culture, which is why our residents enjoy living on our campuses so much.”

At local Erickson Living community Seabrook, in Tinton Falls, N.J., Volunteer Program Coordinator Judy Seger says volunteering is simply “part of the mission. We wouldn’t be who we are without our volunteers.”

Fulfilling a need

Watson theorizes that, based on statistics from across Erickson Living communities, as people age they become more interested in making a difference and more likely to volunteer. By providing so many various volunteer opportunities on-site, Erickson Living communities like Seabrook fulfill a need for retirees. 

In fact, Watson says, “Clearly, one of the things market intelligence finds is that people who are nearing retirement age find opportunities to volunteer important.”

At Seabrook, residents have at least 128 different opportunities to volunteer on campus. That’s the current number of groups, clubs, and activities at the community. And they are all organized and managed by residents with logistical help from Seger.

People volunteer in any number of interest groups and activities—from religious organizations and choral groups to fitness classes and the on-site wood shop, among many others. 

While many people also volunteer outside of the community, it’s a plus to have so many opportunities to volunteer without having to leave campus, especially when the weather turns sour.

Marcia and Bill Rubin, who recently received the community’s Most Outstanding Volunteer Effort Recognition (M.O.V.E.R.) Award for their outstanding volunteer work, take advantage of Seabrook’s many opportunities. 

Marcia has served as chairperson of the Resident Advisory Council’s resident life committee, volunteers in Seabrook’s TV studio, and assists in numerous other projects and activities on campus. 

Bill volunteers for the resident life department by helping with projects, designing flyers, and distributing information to resident mailboxes. 

He is also an active member of the Seabrook Veterans Club and coordinates collection drives for veterans in need. The club recently donated 18 boxes filled with toiletries to the Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park and Lyons Veterans Hospital.

“Thank you to Bill and Marcia for sharing your gifts and making Seabrook a great place to live,” Seger said at the award ceremony on January 18. Each quarter, residents at Seabrook nominate a neighbor or neighbors for the M.O.V.E.R. Award.  

Another side of volunteering

At Seabrook, volunteer activities might look a little different than what one would normally envision. While there are plenty of opportunities to collect canned goods, knit baby hats and lap blankets, or make sandwiches for the needy, many other opportunities exist that allow residents to simply do something they enjoy or learn a new hobby—like how to operate a TV camera in the on-site TV studio.

“Each interest group fills a different need and appeals to different people. By volunteering to run the group, they are creating the opportunity to offer an activity through their skills, hobbies, and passions,” Seger says. 

Interest groups also create opportunities for neighbors to socialize and meet others with similar interests. 

Of one volunteer group that helps nonprofit organizations with their mailings, Seger says, “I think there’s more talking than labeling. That group is a lot of fun, and it’s a good one-time opportunity for people who don’t want to make a long-term commitment.”

Another excellent social volunteering opportunity is the Welcoming Committee. These volunteers help new residents get acclimated to the community. 

While there are too many volunteers and activities to list, Seger says, “Volunteers and the programs they run make Seabrook the vibrant community it is.”

Comments