WCCOA partners with BGSU

Emily Gielink and Emily Gielink

The Wood County Committee on Aging (WCCOA) in Bowling Green is always looking for student volunteers to aid Ohio’s senior citizens, because they’re able to teach older adults new skills. There is a large volunteer base that keeps the WCCOA running; with BG residents and University students dedicating their time to the organization and creating new programs.

With programs ranging from “Cooking for One” to Wii bowling, these activities are packed into each month at different senior centers across Ohio.

The WCCOA frequently partners with BGSU and its students, offering internships and volunteer hours. Recently, the BGSU Gerontology Student Association partnered with the Wood County Senior Center to create a “Senior Prom,” which was a fiesta-themed party to celebrate Mexican style.

While most programs are free, some require participants to bring money to the event for food or pay registration fees for the six to eight week programs.

“Music Discovery Day,” a program created by Senior gerontology major Zack Miller, will take place Tuesday, April 11, from 3-5 p.m. at the Wood County Senior Center. This program allows older adults to partake in an instrument petting zoo, hear from a professional in the music industry and listen to live music.

“I had free reign to develop whatever I wanted,” Miller said. “It combined my three passions: gerontology, music and helping others.”

There are also technology programs, such as “Silver Tekkies Tablet Workshops,” that are taught by Rita Betz. For the past few workshops, the Chapman Learning Community has partnered with Betz to teach older adults about new technology, but new volunteers are needed depending on the size of the workshop.

“A lot of students come to us first, but we need anywhere between two to eight volunteers per workshop,” Betz said. “We are always looking to do something in the summer, and we ask that students have a passion for working with older adults.”

There are also programs targeted towards older adults with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These are taught by certified instructors.

“We always could use volunteers to keep an eye on them, because they aren’t always steady,” Miller said.

Each month has a new set of programs in store. With all the services that WCCOA provides, there are also trips and tours offered. The trips range from day trips to week-long trips in New Orleans and New York City.

To volunteer for WCCOA, students can contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Jacqueline Metz, and fill out the BGSU Student Volunteer form, found on their website.