Grace Cottage NewVolunteer Driver Program

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TOWNSHEND — Lack of transportation is a barrier to necessary healthcare for many in Windham County. Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has partnered with Green Mountain RSVP to recruit new volunteer drivers in the West River Valley and surrounding towns so that seniors can have improved access to medical appointments and wellness services in the area. This is a neighbor to neighbor assistance program for people living without good transportation or that are too far from transit services. Green Mountain RSVP is the volunteer recruiting center for people aged 55 and over who are looking to share their time and skills to better the community. Transportation for medical rides is a top priority now as seniors attempt to live at home longer in life.

Grace Cottage will schedule volunteer drivers in advance as the need arises. No regular scheduled commitment is necessary, just register with RSVP as a volunteer and a Grace Cottage Community Health Team (CHT) member will call when someone needs a ride. Volunteer drivers are needed along Routes 30 & 35 to serve patients in Grafton, Athens, Brookline, Townshend, Newfane, Winhall, Jamaica and surrounding towns. RSVP provides supplemental auto liability and excess medical liability coverage while in service and Grace Cottage will provide a voucher for a wholesome lunch in their dining hall as a thank you for your service! For more information or to sign up, call CHT Outreach Coordinator Bill Monahan at 365-3762.

A recent report from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) confirms volunteerism as a powerful form of civic engagement. According to CNCS, 25% of Americans, 1 in 4, participated in their communities through volunteering last year. That's 62.6 million people in volunteer programs like Retired and Senior Volunteers (RSVP) with another 138 million engaged in "informal" volunteering like watching each other's children, house sitting or helping seniors with shopping. Vermont ranks Number 8 in the nation in the 2015 study, up from #14 a few years ago, thanks to the growing number of active volunteers responding to the needs in their communities.

Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, writes "Giving back to our community is something we can all agree on and taking this action is a powerful way to bring together Americans from all walks of life to build stronger, more equitable communities." The GMRSVP program offers many opportunities for people 55 and over to give their time and talents in service to their communities.

We work closely with food pantries, health care providers, transportation agencies and schools. GMRSVP volunteers deliver meals on wheels, help elders in their homes, take home-bound seniors and disabled adults to appointments, mentor children in grades K-12 and much more. Partnerships with over 100 non-profits in Bennington, Windsor, and Windham Counties create many interesting and much needed volunteer opportunities. Contact RSVP today and register as a volunteer. WWW.RSVPVT.ORG or phone 844-258-RSVP. GMRSVP is sponsored by Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging and is a program of the National Senior Corps.

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