Department of Aging Receives Grant for Volunteer Initiatives

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has received a Performance Improvement and Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.

The grant of $200,000.00 will be devoted to assist local APPRISE programs in developing strategic approaches to enhance volunteer programs.

The APPRISE program is a free, objective Medicare and health insurance counseling program available throughout Pennsylvania. More than 600 volunteers offer thousands of hours of their time to provide information on Medicare and related counseling to older Pennsylvanians.

The new grant will support the establishment of Statewide Volunteer Program Coaching Teams. The teams will be led by volunteers and will develop project plans to meet the needs in four regions and assist local APPRISE programs in developing strategic approaches aimed at enhancing their volunteer counseling programs.

Coaches will participate in training sessions, lead efforts to develop plans, work with audit teams, participate in monthly coaching calls and complete other responsibilities.

“Volunteers are the foundation of the APPRISE program, and this grant will allow us to continue to enhance and improve the program,” Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said. “By utilizing volunteer coaches we hope to be able to reach out to additional older Pennsylvanians. I thank the volunteers working for the APPRISE program for their dedication in helping others better understand their Medicare plans.”

Older Pennsylvanians can benefit by tapping into the wealth of expertise and knowledge provided by the volunteers. Studies have also shown that individuals who engage in volunteer activities can experience positive health changes in their lives.

The 17-month grant will give the department’s APPRISE program an opportunity to create approaches through peer support that will be instrumental in enhancing the roles of APPRISE volunteers and helping the program respond to the insurance information and counseling needs of Pennsylvania’s growing older adult population.

Individuals interested in finding out more about the APPRISE program and volunteer statewide coaching teams or anyone wishing to apply for the program should call 1-800-783-7067 or visit www.aging.state.pa.us.


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