Roxanne Iverson-Boice understands the importance of volunteering and the positive impact it can have on the older adults she spends her time with.
“Volunteering improves the lives of everyone,” says Roxanne. “It’s meeting new people, doing new things, sharing ideas and stories, helping an individual realize their own potential, developing friendships, and most importantly, ensuring safety in their lives so that they can remain in their home with family.”
As an AmeriCorps caregiver support & respite volunteer through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS), Roxanne offers breaks to family caregivers by spending a few hours each week with older adults and going for walks, sipping coffee and enjoying conversations.
Roxanne also recognizes the impact that volunteering has on her own life.
“It gives me a sense of self-worth and is mentally and emotionally uplifting for me,” she shared. “Volunteering gives me space to forget about my day-to-day routines and to focus on others. Talking with others while volunteering has helped me to realize I am needed and important.”
Respite volunteers also offer older adults more opportunities to maintain social connections, an important aspect of healthy aging that can become difficult as people experience dementia or mobility limitations.
AmeriCorps caregiver volunteers meet at the homes of older adults and out in the community, offering caregivers a few hours each week to run errands, catch up with friends and recharge. People who care for loved ones rely on local volunteers like Roxanne to provide this life-changing support.
Currently, due to COVID-19, all visits are being done virtually through phone and video chat, but support can be given, and friendships are still formed even virtually. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is hoping to resume in-person volunteering in the fall.
As the population of older Minnesotans grows, so does interest in this service. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is seeking volunteers to help meet an increasing need to provide support and respite to family caregivers.
This service offers an opportunity for caring individuals to share their skills, meet new people and make a direct difference in people’s lives. Volunteers earn a monthly living allowance ranging from $150 to $250 and can earn a $1,300 to $1,600 education grant annually, which they can use for tuition and student loans. Volunteers who meet hourly requirements over four years can earn a total of up to $18,400.
Volunteers older than 55 can also put these grants toward a child or grandchild’s education fund.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota provides volunteers with training and requires no prior experience. To qualify, volunteers must be at least 17 years old, with availability each week and a reliable vehicle. They also must pass a standard background check.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is seeking volunteers in the following counties: Becker, Brown, Chippewa, Clay, Crow Wing, Hennepin, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Mahnomen, McLeod, Meeker, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Ramsey, Roseau, Sherburne, Todd, Wadena, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine.
The statewide organization serves all Minnesotans and welcomes volunteers from different faiths, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and stages in life to inquire. To learn more or to get started, please contact program director Tara Giese at 866.787.9802, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lssmn.org/caregiver/volunteernow.