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Giving Back and Receiving: AmeriCorps Volunteers Needed to Support an Aging Population




oday, Minnesota is aging like never before. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state’s 65 and older population is the fastest growing age group. This means that the number of people stepping into caregiver roles to ensure the health and wellbeing of older adults is climbing, too.

With financial support from AmeriCorps, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is training and deploying volunteers in rural Minnesota to protect these family caregivers from burnout by visiting older adults in their homes a few hours each week. This allows exhausted family members in areas with few resources to take a much-needed break – a time to rest and recharge.  

But the benefits are not just for the families and older adults who receive support. LSS AmeriCorps volunteers, age 17 or older, receive a monthly, $200 stipend. They can also qualify for a $1,500+ education award after 450 hours of service. The award can be used for a volunteer’s own education, or to pay down student loans.  If a volunteer is 55 years or older, the grant award may be gifted to a child, grandchild or foster child. 

“Being an LSS AmeriCorps volunteer can be incredibly rewarding,” said Tara Giese, senior program manager for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. “Often, people forget that caring for the caregiver is essential to ensuring that older adults stay as healthy and happy as possible. If you have just a few hours a week to give, you can meet new people and feel really great about changing lives in your community.” 

Right now, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is seeking 20-30 additional volunteers to address the growing needs in the counties of Jackson, Sibley and Brown, and in the communities of New Ulm, Brainerd, Willmar, Thief River Falls, and Montevideo. Last year, volunteers dedicated more than 13,000 hours of respite care and support for 96 families serving as primary caregivers for an older loved one.  

All volunteers receive training and no prior experience caregiving is required. To qualify, volunteers need to have some day-time availability, a reliable vehicle, and pass a background check. To become a volunteer or learn more, please contact LSS Caregiver Respite at 1.800.488.4146 or email caregiver@lssmn.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            About Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota began in 1865 when a Lutheran pastor and his congregation opened an orphanage for children near Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. Today, with 2,300 employees and 8,000 volunteers, LSS helps one in 65 Minnesotans through services that inspire hope, change lives, and build community. Statewide, the organization seeks to foster safe and supportive homes for children, restore health and wellness in families, empower people with disabilities to live the lives they imagine, and promote health, independence and quality of life for older adults. For comprehensive information about the work of LSS, visit
www.lssmn.org.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at 21,600 unique sites including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.4 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing more than 2.3 million volunteers for the organizations they serve. Find more information at 
https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

Editor’s Note
: LSS AmeriCorps volunteers are needed to help support older adults and their family caregivers in the following counties:  Polk, Mahnomen, Becker, Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Clay, Norman, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Traverse, Wadena, Todd, Cass, Crow Wing, McLeod, Renville, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Sibley, Brown, Jackson, Big Stone, LacQui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Swift.