The Personal & Community Engagement (PCE) Initiative is a collaborative effort led by a group of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Furman students who have participated in the Senior Leaders Greenville Program and / or the Dynamic Aging Program, two major OLLI at Furman programs. Tom Nowlin & Dudley Tower are the Co-creators of the concept and serve on the Planning Committee, along with Jean Blank, Cindy Brothers, Jane Chambers, Susan Cyr, Marie Eldridge, Jack Hansen, Doug Harper, Sheila Garrick and Pat Schweitzer.
The Purpose of the PCE is to:
- Help facilitate improving the quality of life (QOL) of the older adults, and his or her surrounding community.
- Simplify the matching of OLLI members with the optimal “meaningful engagement” opportunities in the community, based on the volunteers’ identified wants, needs, desires, purpose and passion.
- Assist in the placement of OLLI members with organizations, commissions, causes, new business development, and other means of meaningful engagement within the Greenville area.
The key elements that set the PCE Initiative apart are:
- The initial focus is on the Volunteer and identifying their skills, talents, interests and desires.
- If the prospective volunteer is uncertain about the type of opportunity that would meet their needs, coaches and other tools are available to help make that determination.
- Then, OLLI members currently engaged with an organization as a volunteer, serve as a “personal” Coordinator for the prospective volunteer, discussing the opportunities and assisting with identifying a specific, compatible match and can accompany the prospect to the organization, if desired.
- Specific “meaningful” opportunities have been previously identified with the organization and the needs have been determined.
- A web site with a searchable database will be regularly updated.
Once an effective working model of the program has been established at OLLI, we plan to expand the Initiative to reach older adults in the Greater Greenville area who are seeking to become meaningfully engaged in the community. Once we have achieved that, we would hope to expand the initiative further, to other OLL locations throughout the US.