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Help wanted: Area programs in need of volunteers

WORTHINGTON -- With a generation of volunteers no longer able to help out, community organizations in the area are feeling the effects of a lack of manpower to keep events and programs going.

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WORTHINGTON - With a generation of volunteers no longer able to help out, community organizations in the area are feeling the effects of a lack of manpower to keep events and programs going.

Joanne Bartosh, coordinator for A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota, has begun a countywide search to find volunteers to help facilitate her upcoming class, “Powerful Tools for Caregivers.”

The six-week series helps people caring for a parent, spouse, friend or client take care of themselves as well. The class, which meets once a week for an hour and a half, aims to provide participants with the skills to improve self-care and communication, as well as reduce stress.

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“This isn’t a series on how to caregive, it’s a series on how to be a healthy caregiver,” Bartosh said.

The class is built on solving problems and creating goals for participants. With caregivers often feeling stress, guilt and depression, participants set entertaining weekly goals to reduce such anxieties.

The series covers some tough topics such as business decisions and advance directives -  making sure participants know what the person they are caring for wants if they are struggling through an illness. Participants also learn how to better communicate with family members and doctors.

Volunteers must be trained and certified to facilitate the class. The training is Feb. 15-16 in Marshall - A.C.E. will pay for the training and mileage. The date for the class is not finalized yet, but it will take place in March at the West Learning Center.

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Bartosh said volunteers don’t need any experience in the subject, but should be interested in it. She added that retired professionals such as educators, nurses and legal professionals would be a perfect fit.

“We’re seeing more and more retired professionals; this could be a good way to use their skills,” Bartosh said. “It is classroom style of teaching, so they’d be really good at that.”

The class is one of three evidence-based workshops that have their curriculum written by experts in the field.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a six-week series that provides participants with ongoing health conditions strategies to improve their health and energy by eating better and being more active. It also provides better ways to deal with pain and fatigue as well as effectively communicate with friends, family and health care professionals. The program is set tentatively for May.

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“A Matter of Balance” is an eight-week series that helps participants learn to view falling as a controllable, set goals to increase activity and exercise and change their behavior to lower the risk of falling. The program is tentatively set for October.

Both programs will both need volunteers as well. While most programs are located in Worthington, Bartosh also wants additional volunteers to help facilitate classes outside of the city.

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