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Voluntarios del Sureste adds towns to community outreach efforts

The Voluntarios del Sureste project announced the signing of a new collaboration agreement with VOCES Puerto Rico, as part of the expansion of its community volunteer programs.

The alliance will support a new program that will assign volunteers aged 55 and older to participate in community resilience activities in the face of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants.

Through the new agreement, training will be provided to volunteers participating in the community impact programs of Voluntarios del Sureste to serve as promoters of health issues related to COVID, its variants and the importance of vaccines, in the municipalities of Fajardo, San Lorenzo and Maunabo.

“Volunteering in Puerto Rico is a key element in the efforts to strengthen the resilience of our communities. Although many think that the COVID pandemic is already a thing of the past, the reality is that communities, particularly older adults, still feel its impact,” said the director of the Voluntarios del Sureste program, María Eugenia Buscaglia.

In addition to supporting community education activities on COVID-19 and vaccination efforts, the Senior Demonstration Program (SDP), a new Voluntarios del Sureste program, will feature dozens of volunteers focused on distributing food and providing companionship to seniors and families affected by the virus to make it easier for them to cope with its effects.

Other needs of older adults such as transportation and other daily chores, including household errands in and out of the home, will also be addressed.

“With this partnership, our volunteers in the regions of Puerto Rico that we serve will receive training that will help them clear up lingering doubts among older adults about important health issues such as COVID and other diseases that require vaccination,” she added.

“Certainly, this will not be the last pandemic we face so it is up to us to have volunteer resources ready to disseminate reliable and simple information for the benefit of the communities,” Buscaglia said.

The SDP joins the other two existing Voluntarios del Sureste programs, which include the Senior Companion Program (SCP) and the Senior and Retired Volunteer Program (RSVP). The latter seeks to support municipal community aid and disaster or emergency recovery initiatives.

The program also supports projects related to community health and safety, Buscaglia explained.

Meanwhile, the SCP focuses on the accompaniment of older adults. So far, Voluntarios del Sureste has already recruited and activated dozens of adult companions in the municipalities of Las Piedras, Naguabo, Humacao and Ceiba. In addition, the entity has signed collaboration agreements with the municipal administrations of Humacao, Ceiba, Yabucoa and Las Piedras.

Requirements to participate in any of the three Voluntarios del Sureste volunteer programs include being 55 or older; residing near the municipalities of Las Piedras, Naguabo, Humacao, Ceiba, Yabucoa, Maunabo, San Lorenzo and Fajardo; and having the willingness to collaborate and accompany other adults and families in need.

Participating volunteers receive free workshops on areas such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, emergency management, emotional health, crisis management and other related topics.

Volunteers recruited for the SDP will receive, like SCP participants, an incentive per hour invested, free training, mileage reimbursement, and lunches.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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