Meet the Council on Aging (CoA) May volunteer of the month. Michael is a member of our esteemed Board of Directors! Recently, we sat down with Michael to find out why he chose to give so much of his time to the CoA.

Why do you volunteer for the Council on Aging?

I was looking for a way to share my experience working for a human-services non-profit with an organization I identified with and cared about. When I learned that the CoA was recruiting new Board members, I thought joining the Board would be an excellent way to get started.

What about the organization drew you in?

Like many people, my experience with my aging mother helped me better understand aging challenges in Central Oregon. The more I learned about it, the more I appreciated the need for a strong agency like the CoA to provide essential services and advocate for the aging.

What’s it like working with your fellow volunteers?

I joined the Board post-COVID and, thanks to an injury that has limited my mobility, I only attend Board meetings via video conferencing. I plan to start attending the meetings in-person this month.

Is the experience helping you grow as a person?

I have learned so much since joining the Board. It has opened my eyes to the struggles of so many aging people in the region. I have been involved in anti-poverty work for many years without considering what it takes to be an aging person in our region.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering for the Council on Aging?

I think volunteering with the CoA would be rewarding for people who want to do work that provides tangible benefits to the lives of so many older people.

What essential thing can the Council on Aging volunteers do for our seniors?

One of the most valuable functions of the agency is working as a referral partner to help seniors and their families find all the available resources for support. There are many options available beyond the services CoA provides.

Do the people you serve appreciate what volunteers like you do?

I hope so. Sometimes it isn’t easy to appreciate all the people who work behind the scenes to keep everything working reliably and efficiently. An agency like the CoA has many moving parts, a minimal budget, and requires many people to keep it running.

How does volunteering for the Council on Aging make you feel?

It has been a great experience and I am constantly learning. It feels good to be a part of a group that provides so many critical services that are critical to the community.

Do you wish you had been able to volunteer sooner?

In the past, I have mostly done short-term event-based volunteering for NeighborImpact. I have a demanding day job, so I am glad that I have finally been able to carve out some time to devote to serving on the CoA Board. I recommend Board membership to anyone with some expertise to offer but limited time to devote.

Thank you, Michael, for making a difference in the lives of so many older adults.

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