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Volunteers can help city students succeed

Recently, The News ran two articles – one about the abysmal Buffalo schools graduation rate, and another about how much boomer retirees are invested in our community. Although these are very disparate subjects, there is common ground. The graduation rate in Buffalo Public Schools represents an urgent community problem. Boomer retirees are a pool of potential human resources with the skills, experience and desire to take on challenging community problems.

It hasn’t always been easy to find an open door to volunteer in a school. However, several Buffalo schools are now welcoming senior volunteers to work with students in need through a partnership with the Erie County Department of Senior Services Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Catholic Charities Closing the Gap program. More volunteers are needed to reach more students.

The need is desperate, and the need is now. The solution may be you! RSVP is recruiting volunteers for the upcoming school year for classrooms at Southside, Discovery, West Hertel, Charles Drew and Lorraine Academy. A special training and orientation session for volunteers is planned for August.

The benefit is not for just the young student – retirees also reap rewards through volunteering. As one RSVP volunteer wrote: “The students I work with are a joy to be with, and they have given me a whole new perspective on the challenges they face in their world. As diverse as their backgrounds may be, I am still able to witness in each of their characters, in their eyes and hearts, their eagerness in wanting to learn and just get a fair chance at the American dream.”

Patricia Dowling

RSVP Director

Coordinator Of Senior Volunteers

Erie County Senior Services