My name is Carlee Landis and I am an AmeriCorps State member serving with the Senior Peer Program (SPP) of the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic.

The SPP pairs senior volunteers with isolated or homebound seniors in the community, providing them with the social connection they need. The SPP also runs a variety of support groups and classes exclusively for seniors, in order to foster social connection and a greater sense of community. I serve as their data and clerical assistant.

Currently, we have 63 senior volunteers throughout Yavapai County serving 47 participants, and our program is growing rapidly. As of today, we are running 6 support groups, each of which help fulfill a specific need. We have a group for senior women, senior men, people dealing with loss of vision, a group exploring spirituality, and a group focused around a shared love of music.

The singing group in particular, entitled “Singing in the Key of Life” is our most successful group. Next month, it will be returning from a two month long hiatus. I have been able to see the effects of this group firsthand, and they are absolutely astounding. Senior from multiple walks of life and states of being come together and sing songs from their childhoods together.

The healing power of music is very well documented, and we are extraordinarily lucky to be able to bring this much-needed service to the community. This group always has the best turnout, about 30 people attend per week, and the comments we receive from members of this group are absolutely amazing. The group starts up again on April 3rd for any of you music-loving seniors out there who want to be a part of this! Contact the Senior Peer Program for more info.

None of this, of course, would be possible without our wonderful volunteers. There is something very unique about the people who volunteer for the Senior Peer Program. I can honestly say that I have never met people more warm-hearted and giving than our volunteers. Gathering each month at our Volunteer Meetings and hearing the stories they share is an absolute joy. They each care so much about their participants and the work they are doing, I am truly honored to be able to work with them.

We are always looking for more volunteers, so if you are a senior in the Quad-Cities Area looking to make a big difference in the life of another senior, or know someone who may be interested in having another senior visit them, don’t be afraid to give us a call!