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Front Page » August 4, 2009 » Carbon County News » Carbon County volunteers
Published 1,821 days ago

Carbon County volunteers


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By COLLIN MCRANN
Sun Advocate writer

Across the United States, all generations have been volunteering in record numbers.

Although no one reason can account for the trend, it appears that Carbon County is following the trend with volunteers young and old.

About 30 organizations around the county accept and even rely on volunteers to operate. While most are public or quasi-public organizations, they provide a diverse ranges of services.

Rebecca Mason, director of Carbon's RSVP center in Price for persons ages 55 or older places volunteers throughout the county.

Mason believes that, while finding volunteers is always difficult, she has seen an increase in the amount of people who are interested.

At the moment, RSVP has a total of approximately 235 volunteers serving throughout the Carbon County area.

"We definitely look at agency needs, but also we look into the interests of the volunteers themselves," said Mason during a telephone interview.

One area that Mason has seen an increase in specifically is Volunteers in Service to America.

While she had a strong showing in VISTA volunteers, Mason indicates that there is also a great need for them.

Most VISTAs operate on a full time basis and volunteers typically receive a living stipend that helps them to develop a strong program for fighting things like poverty or disaster should the incidents occur.

Although RSVP is focused on the 55 and older crowd, the number of younger people interested contacting the center has interested.

But for the most part, Mason redirects younger residents toward other programs that are in need so they can find placement.

"I've had a lot of younger people interested, which is unusual," said Mason, "It really helps that the president is pushing for service."

The Carbon County Active Re-Entry program accepts volunteers and helps place people.

But "for us, it's more difficult to get good volunteers because we need people who like to be around people," explained Active Re-Entry director Nancy Bentley

Government subsidized, Active-Reentry specializes in helping people with disabilities become self -sufficient.

Active Re-Entry needs volunteers who are skilled in fields such as working with the blind or animals in order to help with the People and Animals Working to Serve program.

PAWS utilizes animals to help people recover or cope with disabilities.

"We work closely with the Sun Center at CEU to find volunteers, which are mostly college students who have gone to places like the Navajo reservation to help out with projects," said Bentley.

At RSVP, Mason finds that seniors tend to volunteer in order to impact the community.

But Bentley also finds that some seniors simply want to work behind the scenes.

Regardless of why people volunteer, local residents' service is a valuable asset to the community.

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August 4, 2009
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