Volunteering core to the Del Webb lifestyle
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – April 29, 2010 – While Del Webb communities are renowned for their recreational amenities, clubs and activities, there is one pursuit that keeps many residents busy round the clock: volunteering. “Volunteering is a significant part of the Del Webb culture, and it is incredible to witness the willingness and enthusiasm of this Baby Boomer generation to share their time and talents,” said Deborah Blake, Del Webb creative director. “The fact is many are healthy and active, primed for the next phase of their lives with no plans to slow down. So, it should come as no surprise they give thousands of hours a year to community organizations and other groups to enhance both their lives and the quality of life for other people.”
In fact, Del Webb conservatively estimates that from its 300,000 residents across the country, they contribute approximately three million hours a year of their time to nonprofit organizations. According to Blake, interest and participation in volunteer activities is high among Del Webb residents, whether or not they continue to work full-time or part-time or are fully retired. Examples of their volunteerism efforts range from mentoring and tutoring school-aged children to raising money and collecting donations or serving as board members.
“Without Sun City Texas, our nonprofits would be in dire trouble,” says Tamara Hudgins, former executive director of the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation in Georgetown, Texas. “Sun City residents are extremely generous, to the best of their ability, and a huge asset to our nonprofit organizations. They realize the role of the nonprofit sector on building a healthy community.” She estimates there are 1,000 active Sun City volunteers who contribute their time and efforts to various organizations in the Georgetown area, and an additional 150-200 residents who serve on nonprofit boards locally. Baby Boomers have the highest participation rate of any demographic segment when it comes to volunteering. So, it’s no surprise that many Del Webb residents are very active in their local communities and were recently honored at various volunteer appreciation events in celebration of National Volunteer Month, which began in 1974 by former President Richard Nixon and ends tomorrow. According to the non-profit Pints of Light Institute, volunteering has increased significantly with 23 million more Americans volunteering today than in 1989.
Why is there so much interest in volunteering among Del Webb residents?
According to Ms. Blake, not only are Baby Boomers generally more educated and skilled than the previous generations – and want to share this knowledge and help others – but they also volunteer for their own well-being.
In the 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey released this month, 67 percent of Del Webb residents surveyed said they currently are or plan to participate in volunteer activities. Most cited “personal fulfillment,” “giving back to the community,” and “helping others” as the main reasons why volunteerism is so popular among Baby Boomers. “I do think we’re different when it comes to volunteering at this point in our lives,” June Cohn, a resident of Sun City Festival near Phoenix, said. “There are a lot of things we want to get involved in now because maybe we didn’t have the time to do so before. Helping our local community and volunteering to help those in need is very important, plus it gives you a good feeling inside to give back.”
Andrea Kaplan, 54 and resident of Sun City Apple Valley in Southern California, said, “It’s so important for people to give something of themselves,” she said. “It’s a way to pay back society for any good fortune you have had in your life. Giving of yourself can be much more valuable than giving money.” Kaplan donates her time to a variety of organizations, including St. Mary’s Medical Center, Yucca Loma Elementary School and the Newton T. Bass Library. Many Del Webb residents also volunteer at local schools to tutor and enhance the educational experiences of younger generations. Residents at Sun City Hilton Head, the Del Webb community in Bluffton, S.C., for example, launched the Sunshine Reader Program for kids at West Hardeeville School. Volunteers also funded an artist-in-residence program, launched a school newsletter, organized field trips and provided job-shadowing experiences for students. “Boomers are demonstrating that they are perhaps more generous than prior generations as they take an active role in philanthropy and volunteerism,” said Judy Julison, Del Webb national director of lifestyle operations. “Living in a Del Webb community provides an excellent catalyst to get involved and enables residents to be engaged in meaningful work. Their volunteer efforts and contributions not only make a difference in others people’s lives, they nurture a broadened sense of purpose and fulfillment.”
About Del Webb
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, award-winning Del Webb active adult communities provide a vibrant, enriched lifestyle for those ages 55 and older, creating an unmatched experience for “retirement.” Del Webb communities began with the original Sun City which opened outside Phoenix, Arizona in 1960 and have grown to include more than 50 communities currently open for new home sales in 21 states. Del Webb is the best-known brand of active adult communities in America and draws on its 50 years of experience of providing residents an engaging life which fulfills their creative, physical, mental, and social needs. For more information on Del Webb, see www.delwebb.com.