Volunteers are a Gift to Our Community

We want to thank all the individuals who give their time, talent, and resources to make an amazing difference to our Elder Network community. The Points of Light web site provides many interesting statistics on the value of volunteers, one statistic that stands out is $482 million dollars identified as the annual dollar value of volunteer hours. How inspiring is that?

Our Elder Network volunteers help us and our elders in various ways. Let’s start with a special thanks to the volunteers who provide direct support and services to our elders. These volunteers provide vital services including:

  • Driving elders to medical appointments and other essential locations 
  • Providing social interaction through our Friendly Visiting Program
  • Giving respite support to caregivers 

Another critical group of individuals is the Elder Network’s board members! They guide us and keep our organization vibrant and forward-thinking. The individuals that help with fundraising and work to grow awareness of our services are crucial to our organization. Our volunteer office staff performs all the essential tasks that help us stay organized and on top of things, they also provide positive and helpful experiences to our callers and visitors.

Whatever volunteer role you play at Elder Network you are invaluable to us!

Charlotte Rupprecht Deserves Special Recognition

Charlotte (who recently retired from volunteering) has been a Friendly Visitor volunteer for 25 years at Elder Network in the Winona area. She originally volunteered with Family Service of Winona, working in the Older Adult Supportive Services (OASS) program and doing social visits to clients. Charlotte’s parents were aging, causing her to think the OASS program would help her better understand the challenges her parents might face. Over the years, OASS joined forces with Elder Network in Rochester. Charlotte remembers taking 12 required classes through Elder Network’s Peer Support volunteer training program before she could see her first client on January 5, 1995.

Over the course of 25 years, she provided Peer Support and Friendly Visitor services to many clients. Charlotte shared that one of her clients told her that, “She was the only person that had ever given her a hug”. Through the years, she took additional training in order to provide volunteer respite for caregivers. Charlotte is glad that she was able to visit with clients before Covid-19.  She, with her big heart, wants everyone to know many other volunteers served through the Friendly Visitor, Peer Support, and Caregiver Respite programs for many, many years too. 

Creating a Chain of Volunteerism

In a recent discussion with Tom, an Elder Network volunteer driver, we discovered he became a volunteer driver partly because his dad was a volunteer driver in Olmsted County. Passing down this volunteerism and a community service mentality is such a gift to Elder Network and the community at large. Kathy Scheid stated, “As the new Executive Director to Elder Network, I was thrilled to hear this story because Tom’s dad had driven for a program I worked with in another job. I knew his dad quite well. Now, I was meeting his son and discovering this beautiful legacy of volunteering.”

Sometimes bringing joy and displaying caring is done in the simplest of ways. One of our Friendly Visitor volunteers, Jerry Davidson, was no longer able to do in- person visits with his elder due to COVID-19. Jerry decided to continue to be of service by filling the elder’s bird feeder on a regular basis and having a brief window visit. Pretty soon he was improving the feeder, adding a suet feeder, and bringing corn cobs for the squirrels. Jerry said, “I love to feed the birds and squirrels at home. It’s a natural thing for me. It gives her another thing to look at and enjoy.”

Giving our youth a mindset of volunteerism is so important for the future of our community and the self-worth of our youth. Actually, volunteering gives as much to the volunteer as they give to their clients.

Meredith Predum at 24 years old is a new volunteer driver for Elder Network. She shared, “Being a volunteer driver with Elder Network has shown me how imperative transportation is to [a person’s] general health and quality of life. This program has given me a glimpse at how many elders have truly lost much of their independence by losing the ability to drive. I have been blown away at the gratitude I have been shown from each person I’ve driven. I can see the personal impact firsthand that Elder Network is making in the lives of people. This is such a practical way of helping the aging population in our community and I am happy to be part of this important organization.”

How you Help?

Generally people think of volunteering as helping others, but studies show that volunteering has a positive impact on the volunteer. Not only do they experience a greater sense of well-being and value to their community, volunteering is good for their own health. One report goes as far as stating that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression, and less incidence of heart disease.   

Elder Network would love to welcome anyone at any age to share their time and talents with us and the elder’s we serve. Please, consider joining us. Our current needs include:

  • Driving elders to medical appointments and other locations
  • Teaching people how to use an iPad for telehealth, online grocery shopping, and social connection with friends and family
  • Helping with fundraising events, sponsorship asks, and donations of goods and services

To contact us, please e-mail: info@elder-network.org or call: 507-285-5272. Click here for printable version.

Our Volunteers Make the World a Better Place

Elder Network Friendly Visitor volunteers visit to provide a listening ear, support and encouragement. Volunteer drivers provide transportation for seniors to their important medical and mental wellness appointments. For those aged 55+ facing challenges in their lives, such as isolation, depression, anxiety, addictions, retirement, grief, major health changes, etc. these Volunteer Visitors make the difference between mental and physical wellness or the decline thereof.

Respite Volunteers provide a break for the caregiver to do some of the out-of-home tasks that need to be done. These volunteers provide peace of mind for the caregiver that their loved one is taken care of while they are away.

VolunteerWho Benefits?

As a local non-profit, we rely on trained volunteers for a large portion of our services. Since 2011, volunteers have given over 5,000 rides to needed health-related appointments and visitors have made over 20,000 hours of visits. These are 2 examples of the unmet needs of seniors indicated in the Gaps Analysis reports in all three counties we serve. Not all seniors are in need of services, but those who do will need to be supported. Elder Network volunteers are passionate about being there for them.

Thank you for helping out.  No one should have no one.

In addition to our resonse to COVID-19, we have a number of on-going needs in our existing programs.  

Volunteer Positions

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete these forms and contact the associated staff member for the position. They will assist you with the process from that point. If you would like to check-in via phone with office staff for general questions, please call: 507-285-5272.

Volunteer Application

Background Authorization Form

Additional Background Authorization Form 

Memory Cafe Co-Facilitators

Memory Café is for those with dementia and their caregiver to meet in our community for casual conversation and interaction with other people struggling with memory difficulties. Our Memory Café in Rochester is open to anyone who is experiencing dementia, as well as their caregiver. We open this program to community members on a monthly basis, on the third Thursday of the month, from 2-3pm. The concept of Memory Café is to open a local, community hub that provides a welcoming and accepting nature for seniors with dementia. These individuals often face many isolating stigmas and stereotypes-preventing them from experiencing socialization opportunities that keep them in touch with their humanity. With the Memory Cafes, seniors with dementia can meet others going through similar experiences, while enjoying relaxing activities, crafts, drinks, and snacks. Their participation does not incur set fees, but rather they attend based upon their own, voluntary contributions. The Olmsted County Memory Café is held in Zadeo's Pizza in the Cub Foods Plaza, at 1021 15th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904. 

The Co-Facilitator would need to be available for set-up, the program, and the event itself. We are seeking someone with either personal or professional experience working with others with dementia. A team player who can work with groups of 10-20 individuals and who can work to assist those with dementia and their caregivers to enjoy relaxing activities, crafts, and food set-up, would be our ideal candidate for this volunteer position. We will also provide additional training on working with those with dementia, as well as assisting caregivers of those with dementia. We will provide support of the co-facilitator in learning how to conduct the activities of each session. We will have pre-planned activities with the supplies and directions available, as well as another co-facilitator who is well-acquainted with the facilities, set-up, schedule, supplies, etc. to assist with each Memory Café. 

If you are interested in learning more about Memory Café, and/or the position of a co-facilitator for these events, please reach out to Melissa at Elder Network by calling 507-285-5272, or by emailing her at melissas@elder-network.org. A background clearance will be required for all co-facilitators. Snacks will be served at each session, and additional opportunities for learning and growing in one's understanding of dementia and caregiving will be offered to co-facilitators and participants of the Memory Café.

Memory Cafe Volunteer Presenters

Memory Café is for those with dementia and their caregiver to meet in our community for casual conversation and interaction with other people struggling with memory difficulties. Our Memory Café in Rochester is open to anyone who is experiencing dementia, as well as their caregiver. We open this program to community members on a monthly basis, on the third Thursday of the month, from 2-3pm. The concept of Memory Café is to open a local, community hub that provides a welcoming and accepting nature for seniors with dementia. These individuals often face many isolating stigmas and stereotypes-preventing them from experiencing socialization opportunities that keep them in touch with their humanity. With the Memory Cafes, seniors with dementia can meet others going through similar experiences, while enjoying relaxing activities, crafts, drinks, and snacks. Their participation does not incur set fees, but rather they attend based upon their own, voluntary contributions. The Olmsted County Memory Café is held in Zadeo's Pizza in the Cub Foods Plaza, at 1021 15th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904.


Elder Network is seeking out community members who have time and talents to dedicate towards our Memory Café. Artists, musicians, crafters, and others who feel they have a skill or talent that could be used to assist us in delivering programs to seniors facing dementia, as well as their caregivers, are welcome to contact Melissa at 507-285-5272 or melissas@elder-network.org. We would welcome your interest, and we would love to have your assistance with providing this enjoyable and relaxing time of socialization for these members of our community who often face isolation. Musicians who could play a few sets, artists that could provide craft programming for those with dementia, and others who are able to offer their time to our Memory Café on the third Thursdays of each month, from 2-3pm, are welcome to contact us with their ideas. We would love to brainstorm innovative programming with you to help serve our community. Experience with dementia is not necessary, as we can help you craft your skill to meet the needs of our clients.

 

Technology Assistance Program Volunteers

The Elder Network has developed a grant-funded pilot project that has supported the purchase of tablets for volunteers to use with clients to provide face-to-face visiting without going into the homes. Volunteers can choose to either volunteer in-person, over the phone, or via video conferencing. This virtual face-to-face contact is important to provide needed socialization and to help alleviate isolation for our elders who experience isolation due to COVID-19.

Elder Network is looking for volunteers who are interested in teaching seniors how to use tablets and the phone to converse on Zoom and other digital platforms. Elder Network is also looking for volunteers to assist individuals with questions and guidance on using tablet applications to improve their communication with friends and family, connect with medical providers, use email to communicate with others, order groceries online, and access other important resources that they have been going without through their time of quarantine.

The Elder Network is interested in partnering with tech-savvy volunteers who could assist with providing technical education for clients for 1-2 hours per week, according to the schedule of the volunteer. Staff and volunteers are currently being recruited for this program. Please call Donna for interest in volunteering with this program: 507-285-5272.

Mailing Volunteers

Mailing Volunteers assist with mailings that occur on a semi-annual basis to share the opportunity with clients to take a survey and share their satisfaction with services and programs with our staff, as well as campaigns or voluntary contribution requests that empower our agency to provide services at affordable rates for seniors and their caregivers.
o This position requires an individual to assist with mailings which occur in January, July, October, and November of each year. Assistance could be associated with one or more mailings. Some additional mailings may also occur throughout the year.
o The annual appeal, semi-annual surveys, and other surveys will be completed through assistance of staff.
o Using the computer to assist with this process is helpful, but not necessary.

If interested, please contact Becca at beccah@elder-network.org or call 507-285-5272 to speak with her regarding this position.

Office & Development Volunters

• Office & Development Volunteers can provide clerical assistance in organizing event-related files and folders, provide aid in drafting and updating mailing lists for events and mailings, assist with inputting donor data into our computer system, making calls to donors, writing and sending thank you cards to donors, etc.

o These positions do not require a set number of hours in a week, but having a regular schedule within this position allows the volunteer to have more duties and responsibilities assigned as they develop their knowledge of the agency.

If interested, please contact Becca at beccah@elder-network.org or call 507-285-5272 to speak with her regarding this position.

Silent Auction Volunteers 

Silent Auction Volunteers work with 10-20 assigned/self-selected businesses/individuals in the community who are able to provide Elder Network with donated goods or services for their silent auction at the annual gala in September. 

o This position requires interaction with business owners/individuals to share with them about Elder Network and the work that the agency does, as well as making an ask for donated goods/services from the business prior to August 1st, 2022.

o The process of asking for the goods/services requires good communication that may be via phone calls, emails, mail, and/or in-person conversations. Having established connections is not a requirement to make an ask of a business, but any experience or relationship with the business/individual can aid volunteers in having successful interactions with acquiring donations. 

o Silent Auction Volunteers will be asked to coordinate delivery of any donated goods, service certificates, financial contributions with the Silent Auction Committee Chair and the Development Manager at Elder Network.

o This position requires between 10-50 hours (depending upon commitment to the number of businesses selected) of support throughout May-September, with the bulk of the hours occurring in June-August. 

o Silent Auction volunteers can assist with set-up of the items for auction at the event on the day-of in September. 

If interested, please contact Becca at beccah@elder-network.org or call 507-285-5272 to speak with her regarding this position.

Gala Volunteer Coordinator

The Volunteer Coordinator can assist the Committee Chair by providing them with assistance in procuring volunteers to support the Gala, as well as to coordinate those volunteers.

o This position requires 10-20 hours of time to help contact volunteers via phone, email, text, and in-person visits.

o The Volunteer Coordinator will work together with the other Chairs to allocate jobs for each volunteer according to their abilities, interests, and schedules.

o The Volunteer Coordinator will be called upon to organize the volunteer schedule for the day before the event, as well as the day-of, in order to ensure that the set-up process runs smoothly with enough support to prepare for the event.

o This volunteer should be adept at communicating with others, able to coordinate multiple communications at a time, and quick to respond in their communications.

o Use of Excel, Word, Publisher, and other Microsoft Suite products is helpful, as the Chair may require assistance with allocating and delegating businesses/locations to each volunteer.

If interested, please contact Becca at beccah@elder-network.org or call 507-285-5272 to speak with her regarding this position.

Volunteer Receptionist (Computer or Non-Computer Related Work)

Elder Network is recruiting 1-3 volunteers to support our daily receptionist needs. We offer a friendly and supportive staff, and meaningful tasks to support our work with clients and caregivers, in a pleasant environment. Days and hours are flexible to the volunteer’s availability but a consistent schedule is desirable. Under the supervision of the Executive Director of Elder Network, the Volunteer Receptionist is responsible for these office tasks.

Duties Include:

  • Answering phones and directing the call to the appropriate staff person.
  • Greet and assist walk-in inquiries and directing them to the appropriate staff person.
  • Assist with preparation and assembly of materials for various mailings, brochures, training sessions and newsletter production
  • Maintain calendar for front desk on a weekly basis for all staff calendar
  • Maintain records in an orderly manner

Knowledge, Abilities and Skills Required

  • Communicate via the phone in a professional manner
  • Record clear and complete phone messages
  • Record clear and complete information about referrals
  • Communicate the Elder Network mission and activities
  • Demonstrate courtesy and tact in dealing with the public, co-workers, volunteers, Board members, and other professionals in the community
  • Maintain records in an orderly manner
  • Communicate clearly to clients, volunteers, co-workers, and visitors to the office
  • Willingness and ability to learn new skills, including computer skills and use of various office machines

Helpful Skills (not required)

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office-Word, Excel;

Working Schedule: Flexible; Office hours are M – Th, 9am – 3pm; Fri 9am-1pm

Contact: Kathy Scheid, Executive Director; 507-285-5272

Male Respite Care Volunteers

This position would support a caregiver to be able to complete some daily living duties such as shopping, cleaning, personal appointments or just an opportunity to rest themselves. These companions help the care receiver be comfortable with the caregiver gone or otherwise engaged through active conversation, playing games, making a favorite treat or even going for a ride. The time commitment for volunteers is 2-5 hours on a weekly basis, though interested volunteers can work out arrangements according to their schedule to accommodate the needs of clients on an independent basis.

At the moment we have care receivers and their caregivers that would like to be matched with a male respite companion. Please call Melissa at 507-285-5272. Or, for Winona areas call Barb at 507-452-0580. For Wabasha areas, call Bonnie at 651-564-0351.

Friendly Visiting Volunteers

Elder Network also provides visitors in a variety of areas in greater Rochester, to clients interested in having socialization with another individual for 1-2 hours per week. Currently, these services are being provided in-person and over the phone. The responsibilities for a Friendly Visitor are mainly social interaction and engagement. Many elders are lonely, and their support network may be gone during the day. Perhaps they have outlived their friends, and/or their family are not close by. These visits allow volunteers to engage in meaningful conversation with clients in order to boost their mental health and general health outcomes through active, social engagement. Some clients enjoy playing cards or other games, some enjoy going for walks, while others enjoy sitting down for conversation. 

Men and women are needed for this volunteer position. Please call Melissa at 507-285-5272 for Olmsted County, Barb at 507-452-0580 for Winona County, and Bonnie at 651-565-3237 for Wabasha County.

Transportation Driver Volunteers

Elder Network has openings for volunteers willing to take seniors to their crucial medical appointments, as well as other essential, non-medical needs in the community. This service is currently only available in Olmsted County. This is particularly important in the winter as other transportation options are reduced, and during COVID-19, as many clients prefer to work with an agency they know and trust to provide safe rides. Volunteers will undergo a background check, and clean driving records are considered essential in supporting the transportation needs of our seniors.

  • Please call Melissa at 507-285-5272.

Social Media Volunteers

Elder Network is looking for one or more dedicated social media volunteers to help implement our newly developed social media plan! The ideal candidate for this position would:

  • Have some previous experience running Facebook pages for other non-profits or businesses, including creating content for posting
  • Have knowledge on how to increase Elder Network’s social media footprint on Facebook
  • Be able to dedicate 3-5 hours per week creating and scheduling content for our Facebook page
  • Be able to expand our social media presence to other social media platforms
  • Pass our volunteer background check

Interested candidates can reach out to Elder Network by phone at 507-285-5272 or through emailing Becca at beccah@elder-network.org

Donate In-Kind Items to Our Annual Silent Auction

Check in with Elder Network's office to learn more about the next annual gala and silent auction. We hold this event to support our affordable programs for Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona Counties, and our silent auction plays a major part in this event. In preparation for that silent auction, we are seeking individual and business donations of new and handmade items, as well as services to be donated by your business.  All inquiries related to these services can be forwarded to Becca at beccah@elder-network.org. You can also call the office: 507-285-5272. All donors can receive a tax-deductible receipt for their contribution, upon request.

Volunteer Today!

We're always looking for volunteers. If one of the positions listed above isn't quite what you're looking for, that's ok! Fill out the volunteer form, and reach out to us through our general information email address info@elder-network.org and we'll match you with the right volunteer opportunity.

Volunteer Today!