Friday, September 5, 2014

Living retirement in meaningful ways


By Kay Scott
Humility of Mary Volunteer Program


CVN AmeriCorps member, Kay Scott is 68 years old and serving with the Humility of Mary Volunteer Program in Cleveland, OH. In her role as AmeriCorps Literacy and Outreach Assistant at St. Colman Outreach, Kay provides emergency assistance to families in need, as well as adult literacy and GED preparation. 

After returning from the Peace Corps I was still interested in serving in a volunteer program.  I wanted a faith-based program that I could I share my values and experiences with a community. The Humility of Mary Volunteer Service (HMVS) provided an excellent opportunity to do this.  Also, I was happy to learn that through its partnership with Catholic Volunteer Network, HMVS offered me a chance to participate in the AmeriCorps Educational Award Program, which was available to older adults as well as young people. 

I was familiar with the community of the Humility of Mary Sisters and knew of their dedication and commitment in service to the poor and disadvantaged.  They are women of strong faith and service, inspiring both young and old.  I liked the fact that I could serve in my own hometown and be near my grandchildren, too.

My experience at my site, St. Colman in Cleveland, has been invaluable.  I learn something every day.  The motto here is “We always answer the door.”  And this statement really rings true because you never know who you will meet at the door and how you will be able to help them.  I enjoy being part of giving aid, materially and emotionally.  As a retired teacher, I get pleasure tutoring the immigrants in the literacy classes and helping the other students get their GEDs.  Helping the people who have had so many disadvantages in their lives become self-sufficient is very rewarding.

Programs that HMVS, CVN and AmeriCorps offer to older adults help them live out their retirement in meaningful and fulfilling ways.  I am very happy to be a part of this volunteer service and I enrolled for another year.  One year was just enough to get my feet wet, and with the experience of this first year, I am confident that I will be able to assist others in a more knowledgeable and helpful way.
Kay (front right) and her fellow HMVS AmeriCorps members.

The impact on the community is seen through varied lenses.  Many are grateful that we are here offering financial assistance and that tutors really care about them learning English or achieving their goal of GED. Many find comfort that the stress of providing for their basic needs is met. Many are relieved that we can help them finally get their ID status resolved.  But, mainly, many in the community have found that others genuinely do care about them and will go to any length to ease their suffering.  And what I hear mostly from them is “God bless you and have a blessed day.”