RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- The Ridgewood Public Library and Age Friendly Ridgewood are reaching out to area seniors, to try to match folks' skills and interests to an array of volunteer opportunities that are availability in the community.
The library is hosting a Volunteer Fair on Sunday afternoon, March 5.
"It's kind of a matchmaking opportunity," Roberta Panjwani told Daily Voice.
She and a few of her colleagues at the library have been working with Beth Abbott, co-chair of Age Friendly Ridgewood, a foundation that offers a variety of programs and resources for seniors.
The library also maintains a page on its website to direct community members to adult and senior services.
"Our goal with this Volunteer Fair is to offer meaningful opportunities that use the skills and talents folks have developed over their lifetimes," Abbott said. "There are options for those at the younger end of '55 and over' and at older stages of that age range as well."
People will be able to meet representatives from at least 20 organizations and potentially sign up. The event also features giveaways, as well as a booklet with the groups' contact information, for future reference.
Panjwani said most of the participating organizations are from Ridgewood and nearby, with some from Paterson as well.
One of the groups seeking volunteers is Project Linus, which makes homemade blankets for kids in difficult physical or emotional situations. The Hudson/Bergen chapter notes that it has delivered over 37,000 blankets to area kids in its 15-year history.
The Ridgewood Library's English as a second language program is also seeking tutors. "We have a wonderful, extensive program," Panjwani said.
The ESL program currently has 40 tutors and over 100 students. Panjwani added that would-be tutors don't need any experience: training is provided.
Another service seeking help is the Independent Transportation Network of North Jersey. ITNNorthJersey notes that it "provides a community-based, quality transportation service for seniors and adults with visual impairments."
Other organizations that have already confirmed are
- AARP Driver Safety;
- Bergen County SHIP, the State Health Insurance Program, which needs phone counseling help, and the Medicare Rights Center;
- CAMP Youth Development;
- Covenant House and Raphael’s Life House, which provide services for homeless teens and homeless pregnant women, respectively;
- Family Promise of Bergen County, which provides services to working families who become homeless;
- education-related opportunities, including Ridgewood Community School and Read to Know;
- New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly and Ridgecrest Senior Housing;
- groups that facilitate volunteering among area groups, like Bergen Volunteer Center and Paterson Alliance;
- the Ridgewood Historical Society;
- SCORE business mentoring;
- the YMCA and YWCA; and
- an array of medical-related organizations, including Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Neighborcare, Valley Hospital, Valley Ladies Auxiliary, and Valley Homecare and Hospice.
For more information, call 201-670-5600, ext. 130, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fair will run from 2-4 p.m. in the library's auditorium. The library is located at 125 North Maple Ave.
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