Becky Degn was frustrated—she wanted to give back to the community but had found several volunteer organizations to be “disorganized and chaotic.” Then she met Rick Tanaka, director of the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program, who “cut out all the frustration” for her.
Degn now volunteers with the Conejo chapter of America Supporting Americans, preparing care packages for soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. She enjoys the camaraderie of working with others on a “like-minded goal,” and her ASA work “is fun, enjoyable, and is a really worthy cause to commit my time to.”
Are you ready to make a difference in our community this year, but don’t know where to start? If you are 55 or older, you can join the 1,000 area men and women already sharing their unique skills and talents through the CSVP.
“Community service is an excellent way to continue the lifelong process of self-discovery and growth,” says Tanaka. “It allows you to share your gifts, explore your interests and develop new talents.”
Sponsored by the Conejo Recreation and Park District, the CSVP provides opportunities for seniors “to use their life experience and skills to meet local community needs.” Volunteers “plant gardens, tutor children, program computers, assist seniors to live independently and serve in other vital roles.”
“Volunteering is a great opportunity for seniors to stay active and engaged in the community, which leads to a healthier and happier lifestyle,” says Tanaka. “We specialize in providing those opportunities.”
Becky credits Tanaka for making the CSVP’s volunteer experience so rewarding. “I wouldn’t have found the ASA program if it wasn’t for Rick,” she says. “He puts the right volunteers in the right positions.”
Tanaka notes, “It’s the volunteers’ participation that allows the program to have the impact that it does—as you can see by the number of volunteers, this is a community that is eager to get out there and help in whatever way they can.”
More than 60 area nonprofit community agencies, including Mary Health of the Sick, Stagecoach Inn Museum and the Thousand Oaks Police Department, are served by CSVP volunteers.
While giving to the community, CSVP members also reap benefits by making new friends and staying involved.
“Meaningful community engagement provides physical and mental stimulation that is proven to be essential for maintaining health and wellness in retirement,” says Tanaka. This “creates a trifecta of benefits, as senior volunteers stay active and engaged by helping public services to better serve the community.”
Not sure how you can contribute or what skills you can share? Simply call, email or visit the CSVP office at the Goebel Adult Community Center in Thousand Oaks to meet with Tanaka, discuss your interests and find a volunteer position that matches your goals.
In addition to offering volunteer opportunities, the CSVP also provides a variety of resources and services, including tax preparation assistance and a senior nutrition program, that benefit area seniors.
This month, the CSVP is hosting the third annual CSVP Wellness Fest on Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Goebel Center.
The biggest CSVP fundraising event of the year, the 2017 Wellness Fest is geared toward seniors and adult children of seniors, and will bring together area nonprofit organizations and local businesses to offer free information, screenings and giveaways. More than 600 attendees are expected at this year’s free event, and sponsors include Atria Senior Living, Home Helpers and Los Robles Hospital, with additional support from Regal Medical Group and Panitz and Kossoff, LLP.
If you’ve resolved to be healthier and more active in 2017, Wellness Fest is the perfect event to kick off your new year! For ticket and event information, visit CRPD.org/wellness.
For more information on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program, please contact:
Rick Tanaka, CSVP Director
Goebel Adult Community Center
1385 East Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362