SFC News

Mentoring Partnership between Senior Friendship Centers’ RSVP Program and 
CareerEdge Funders Collaborative a “Win-Win” for Senior Volunteers, New Jobseekers

MANATEE/SARASOTA, FL (March 30, 2012) – Two seemingly diverse populations—the aging workforce and the chronically unemployed—are nonetheless critical to our region’s growth.  Thanks to an innovative new partnership between RSVP Sarasota/Manatee and the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, members of both are working together to improve their own lives and move the regional economy forward.

CareerEdge has teamed with Senior Friendship Centers’ Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Sarasota/Manatee to provide mentoring to unemployed individuals who are seeking to enter the workforce.  The RSVP mentors, many of whom are retired senior-level executives, offer guidance, encouragement, and support to trainees in CareerEdge’s “Bridges to Careers for Low-Skilled Workers” program.  The partnership is reengaging the aging workforce while supplying the tools and training needed to help the unemployed get back to work successfully and permanently.

RSVP mentors find fulfillment by imparting their wisdom, experience, and life lessons to individuals who have lacked such support throughout their job-seeking years. “I was blown away with the enthusiasm, interest, and response from the folks who have been sent along to me [through this program],” said Frank Clark, an RSVP mentor who led and trained individuals at all skill levels, both domestically  and internationally, during his own career.  “There wasn’t a person I worked with whom I wouldn’t have hired for one of my companies.”

RSVP Sarasota/Manatee offers individuals who are over the age of 55  opportunities to share their talents, skills, and experience in volunteer assignments that target critical local community needs.  The program is funded through the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and sponsored locally by Senior Friendship Centers. CareerEdge is a workforce funders group that leverages public and private dollars to help low- to mid-wage workers in the Manatee-Sarasota region find higher-paying jobs while providing local employers with the skilled workers they need to grow.  Its Bridges to Careers program, which focuses on training and certifying unemployed individuals for entry-level jobs, is funded through an Elevate America grant from Microsoft Corp.

“Creating partnerships that fit the needs of our region in real-time has been a component of our success,” says CareerEdge senior program director Jennifer Carp.  “CareerEdge and RSVP worked closely to build a foundation that made sense and fit the mission of both organizations.”

“This innovative partnership provides yet another way for Senior Friendship Centers, as sponsor for the RSVP program, to continue our mission of ‘people helping people,’” said Bob Carter, president and CEO of Senior Friendship Centers. “In their mentoring role, our volunteers teach and impact lives, while also learning themselves. Such a win-win is remarkable.”

For RSVP volunteer mentor Sandy Bond, that opportunity could not have been a better match. “My chance to play a very small role in this process was one of the most exciting volunteer opportunities I’ve had since leaving my full-time job,” said Bond. “I explained my role in the program to my family, and when I finally stopped talking, they all smiled. My son said he thought I'd found the perfect place. I agree.”

About CareerEdge

CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, civic, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, and Suncoast Workforce. For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.744.2661.

About RSVP Sarasota/Manatee

RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for people age 55 and over, with more than 500,000 volunteers across the country who are tackling critical issues with their communities.  Working with nonprofit organizations, RSVP Sarasota/Manatee recruits and places volunteers in focused areas of need throughout both counties, such as health, nutrition, childhood learning, veterans’ affairs, and job development, among many others. For more information, call 941.556.3274.

About Senior Friendship Centers

Senior Friendship Centers is a private nonprofit organization that has been serving the needs of older adults in Southwest Florida since 1973. Its umbrella of services include adult day services, the Caregiver Resource Center,  activities centers in Sarasota and Venice, dining-in centers and  home-delivered meals, social services and care management, and a Center for Healthy Aging, providing medical and dental care for low-income adults 55 and older. More than 1,000 volunteers serve in every aspect of the organization, which also sponsors RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) in Sarasota and Manatee counties, and AmeriCorps. For more information, go to www.friendshipcenters.org or call 941.955.2122

See the story on mysuncoast.com  here and read more here.


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DeSoto Senior Friendship Center

Friendship Centers
of DeSoto County

219 West Oak Street 
Arcadia, FL 34266
Fax: 863.494.2387
Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.



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