Everyone can use some help from time to time. Whether it’s school students needing help with schoolwork or senior citizens needing an extra hand around the house, Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay is there to pitch in and lend a helping hand. Seniors in Service is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1984 with the mission of using senior citizen volunteers (age 55 or older) to meet the challenges of the community with services that offer mentoring, tutoring and companionship through customized training, support and recognition of their volunteers.
Senior volunteers are vital in keeping the organization going. “We have a lot of diversity for our volunteers and we want to make it a good experience for our volunteers, so we try to match them with where they want to volunteer,” said Lupe Proctor, director of volunteer services for the organization. Some of the programs that are offered by the organization are: The Foster Grandparent program, which offers tutoring and mentoring to school children, the Operation Connect Program, which recruits, trains and places veterans and other family members to help military children succeed and provide fellowship to other veterans in need; the Senior Companion Program matches relatively healthy seniors to homebound elderly or disabled adults. The purpose of this program is to help clients retain their independence rather than going into an assisted living facility or nursing facility.
The programs that the organization offers also benefits its volunteers because they improve their lives and well being. “It has changed their lives and it gives them a purpose everyday,” said Tammy Criollo, president and CEO of the organization. “Many of our volunteers who were suffering from an illness or cancer have told us that knowing they are needed by their students or seniors is the reason they made getting better or completing their treatment their main goal in their recovery.”
The program will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in March. It has many little celebrations planned for the anniversary but the goal of the celebrations is get more volunteers involved with its organization. “We need more volunteers for our Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion Programs,” Proctor said. If you would like to learn more about the programs offered at Seniors in Service or if you would like to volunteer for the organization, visit its Website at www.seniorsinservice.org or call Proctor at 932-5528. Seniors in Service is located at 1306 W. Sligh Ave. in Tampa.