SHINE a light and help senior citizens

Agency needs volunteers, office space in east Gainesville

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.

Do you have 16 hours a month to help seniors in your community? SHINE — Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders — needs volunteers to serve seniors and persons with disabilities, particularly in east Gainesville.



What: SHINE, or Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, needs volunteers, training provided, and office space.

When: Training is Feb. 21-23, with mandatory orientation on Feb. 1-2 or Feb. 7.

Where: Elder Options, 5700 SW 34th St., Suite 222.

Information: Call 800-963-5337.

Currently, the nearest SHINE site is the Alachua County Health Department at 224 SE 24th St. In addition to volunteer SHINE counselors, the agency also is seeking a community partner to donate space for SHINE counseling in east Gainesville.

SHINE volunteers must be computer literate and interested in helping seniors and persons with disabilities navigate the health insurance maze. Volunteers attend a three-day training, followed by mentoring sessions with trained SHINE counselors and ongoing trainings/updates.

The next training session will be held Feb. 21-23 at Elder Options, located in the Florida Farm Bureau Building at 5700 SW 34th St., Suite 222 in Gainesville.

The training will be preceded by an hour-long orientation webinar on Feb. 1-2 or Feb. 7, which may be taken from home or the Elder Options office. In the webinar, trainees will learn about the SHINE program and its organizational structure as well as the responsibilities and requirements of SHINE volunteers.

Pre-registration is required regardless of the location of the orientation webinar. When attending any trainings or other SHINE meetings, mileage and authorized meals are reimbursed.

SHINE volunteers offer free counseling on Medicare/Medicaid/prescription drug assistance/supplemental insurance plans and more. They also provide outreach in the form of community education presentations and health fairs.

SHINE, called SHIP in other states, is a nationwide volunteer-based program administered here by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, managed by the Area Agencies on Aging and coordinated from community-based counseling sites around the state.

SHINE is dedicated to providing free and unbiased information and counseling through a dedicated network of volunteers to empower Florida seniors and persons with disabilities to make informed health care choices.

For more information, call the Elder Helpline at 800-963-5337 to request a volunteer packet. If you are able to assist your community by offering counseling space, call the same number and ask for SHINE.

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