ORONO — The University of Maine Center on Aging has received an AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP grant to support 119 volunteers serving in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties, where the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program program has provided service opportunities for people ages 55 and older since 2003.

The AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program was awarded $99,202 for the first year of a six-year funding cycle. Every six years, RSVP programs undergo a competitive grant process. This new award permits the UMaine Center on Aging to continue to oversee RSVP under the leadership of longtime director Paula Burnett.

“Winning the 2021 Americorps Seniors RSVP Competition Award was terrific news,” says Center on Aging Director Lenard Kaye. “It underscores the University of Maine Center on Aging’s long-term commitment to promoting the state’s health and well-being by creating a critical vehicle through which older Mainers can share their wisdom and expertise through civic engagement in their local communities.” 

With this funding, the Center on Aging RSVP program will leverage the skills and experience of seniors in the four-county service area to meet community needs. Service by the AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers often includes participation in efforts to fight food insecurity, improve literacy skills with youngsters at child care centers and Head Starts, assisting at adult day service programs and leading senior wellness activities.

To join RSVP and be matched with a volunteer position, contact Burnett, RSVP director, at 207-262-7926 or Carrie Limeburner, program coordinator, at 207-262-7924 to complete the registration and interview and start serving your community.

AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers stay healthy and active through service, improving their own lives as they improve the lives of others. A growing body of research affirms the numerous mental and physical health benefits of volunteerism, including lower mortality rates, decreased rates of depression, and increased strength and energy.

Today, AmeriCorps Seniors engages approximately 195,000 older Americans in service at 29,800 locations across the United States and territories through its Foster Grandparents Program, Senior Companions Program, and RSVP. Established in 1971, RSVP engages Americans age 55 and older in service, responding to our nation’s most pressing challenges. The UMaine Center on Aging RSVP is one of five RSVPs in the state, with over 30 partnering agencies for volunteer placements in its service area.