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Indiana's Senior Corps Program on Chopping Block?

Indiana has 5,000 Senior Corps volunteers. (Virginia Carter)
Indiana has 5,000 Senior Corps volunteers. (Virginia Carter)
May 23, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – About 240,000 volunteers age 55 and older are being honored this month by the Corporation for National and Community Service - including some in Indiana.

The agency runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps - programs that, in the last quarter-century, have placed more than a million people in positions to help others. This month, retirees in the Senior Corps program are being honored.

The acting press secretary, Samantha Warfield, says they help teach children to read, serve as foster grandparents and act as companions for other seniors who need help living independently.

"Americans are living longer and achieving even more, and entering sort of a 'second act,'" she says. "And so because of that, we think it's an untapped resource for nonprofits and community organizations across the country."

The program is looking for more recruits, even as its future is uncertain.

But, President Trump's budget proposal includes cutting the Corporation for National and Community Service. It's one of 19 agencies on the chopping block in order to boost military spending.

Indiana has 5,000 Senior Corps volunteers who serve as tutors for more than 38,000 young people and help 630 local organizations.

Warfield believes everyone has something to offer, no matter what they did before they retired.

"They may decide that they are really antsy to put their professional skills [to work] that they spent so long developing," she adds. "But there also may be volunteers who don't want to do what they've done their whole lives, and maybe they have a passion for gardening or music."

Warfield says Indiana volunteers last year helped nearly 300 homebound seniors and people with disabilities. Most receive a small stipend for their hours of service. Information is online at 'nationalservice.gov.'

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN