A newly launched Scranton wing of a national charity is looking for volunteers ages 50 and older to use their expertise to help others.
Attorney Teddy Michel, 40, officially opened the Northeastern Pennsylvania branch of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps last month to capitalize on the expertise of baby boomers who are leaving or have already left the workforce. Michel and his organization will then place the volunteers with local service organizations who work with the needy or with issues that affect the needy.
Volunteers in the organization commit to serve eight or 16 hours a week for 10 months a year with a local partner organization. Michel is building the local network of service organizations and has already entered agreements with Friends of the Poor, St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen and NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The volunteers can do many types of service, including tutoring, assisting people in finding employment and housing, and providing health care and companionship.
Michel’s first volunteer is Laura Tomassoni Lewis, 60, Archbald. The retiree worked for 36 years as a nurse, including nearly three decades at the Clarks Summit State Hospital with psychiatric patients. She plans to use her medical expertise to help anyone who might need it. Volunteering can enrich the lives of those you help as well as yourself, she said.
“It makes you more of a well-rounded person and makes you more aware of things that you should be thankful for,” she said.
Ignatian volunteers also receive guidance through a reflection process based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. The Ignatian Volunteer Corps says this process helps volunteers discover the deeper meaning of the work they do and to strengthen their relationship with Christ.
Michel, a federal law clerk for the past few years who lives in Archbald with his wife and two children, said he took a “leap of faith” this year to return to his roots in service and nonprofit work.
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