ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque provides many opportunities for those looking to volunteer in their community. That includes the city’s Department of Senior Affairs which has three volunteer programs through AmeriCorps for adults over 55 years of age.
All three programs provide monthly training for volunteers. They average 20 hours of volunteering a week.
The Senior Companion Program allows seniors to volunteer with homebound, isolated seniors in Albuquerque and surrounding areas. Volunteers serve directly in clients’ homes and may prepare a light meal, assist clients in running errands, or simply spend time with clients.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, known as RSVP, provides support for senior volunteers in numerous non-profit organizations based on their interests. RSVP volunteers serve in health and social service agencies, schools, libraries, museums, and government agencies.
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Foster Grandparents work one-on-one with children and children with special or exceptional needs, under the supervision of a teacher or professional. They volunteer at schools, head start programs, daycare centers, and pre-schools.
Denise Coriz is a retired APS cafeteria manager and now serves as a foster grandparent. She says she was drawn to the idea of working with their parents to give them the nurturing they need.
“Some children need a lot more love than what they do get at home. I know they get a lot, but being with someone that’s not really a relative to them who they can share with, I think that sticks with them,” Coriz said.
In her 12 years of volunteering, she says one of her favorite things is helping provide a safe space for the kids at school. “When they go to school, they have someone they can talk to and enjoy and have fun with. I like to play with the kids more than I teach them,” Coriz said. “I enjoy the children and I think helping them at home, especially in this time and what we’ve gone through, I think it’s been a lot easier for them to come to school and say ‘I’m safe there.'”
“The Department of Senior Affairs really appreciates our volunteers. We provide many services to the city for individuals 60 and over and we also offer youth programming. We could not achieve our mission without the help of our volunteers,” said Maria Requa, the community volunteer engagement manager with the Department of Senior Affairs.
There are also options for residents under 55 to volunteer through the One Albuquerque Volunteer initiative. For more information on the Senior Affairs volunteer opportunities, visit the city’s website.