Gulf Coast Village was buzzing with youthful energy this summer as 50 teenage volunteers lent a helping hand to residents.

Students worked side-by-side with Gulf Coast Village staff to lead interactive, engaging activities like arts and crafts, bingo, fitness classes, afternoon teas, social events and more.

“Our teen volunteers are 60, 70 and even 80 years younger than some of our residents, but they quickly formed strong friendships and bonds that overcame any generational gaps,” said Diana Nicol, Gulf Coast Village’s volunteer coordinator. “Many of our residents are not originally from Southwest Florida and don’t have a chance to see their own families on a regular basis, so they absolutely enjoyed interacting with their ‘grandchildren’ over the summer months.”

“The teens do a great job and are always so friendly and helpful,” added Ellen Sanford, an assisted living resident of Palmview at Gulf Coast Village.

Gulf Coast Village has an established volunteer program that welcomes anyone 14 years old and above who is willing to make a difference in the lives of area seniors. Because Gulf Coast Village is sponsored by Volunteers of America, a nonprofit organization, students can apply their volunteer time toward service hour requirements for high schools and college scholarships.

Collectively, the 50 teen volunteers this summer logged 1,500 hours of service time. Among those students was Ava McCormick, a 16-year-old senior at Cape Coral High School who volunteered twice a week helping with bingo, mini-golf and other social activities, as well as event management for Sunday church services.

“I really enjoyed interacting with the residents,” McCormick said. “They had a lot of interesting stories to tell and are always so open while talking with you.”

Gulf Coast Village welcomes individual volunteers as well as school, church and community groups.

“Volunteers play a key role in enriching the lives of our residents,” Nicol said. “Our teen volunteers bring a high level of energy into the building, and it’s infectious. Their presence gives residents a little pep in their step each day as they eagerly anticipate the new friendships and conversations.”

For additional information about volunteer opportunities at Gulf Coast Village, please contact Diana Nicol at DianaN@GulfCoastVillage.org or 239-573-3334.

About Gulf Coast Village

Founded 30 years ago, Gulf Coast Village is the premier Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Cape Coral, Florida. Residents enjoy active living in an unparalleled lifestyle of comfort and convenience with a rich array of services and amenities that are focused on living well. The community also offers the security of knowing there is the full continuum of care when needed including:  assisted living, skilled nursing, secured memory support, home health and outpatient services. Gulf Coast Village is located at 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33991. For more information call 239-772-1333 or visit www.GulfCoastVillage.com.

Gulf Coast Village is sponsored by Volunteers of America, a national nonprofit faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 and is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of quality, affordable housing for seniors and a provider of professional long-term care including assisted living, home health care and nursing home care.