Racial Differences in Volunteer Engagement by Older Adults: An Empowerment Perspective
Tang, Fengyan; Copeland, Valire Carr; Wexler, Sandra. Social Work Research, June 2012.
This research explores the difference in volunteer experience and perceived benefits from volunteering between older black people and white people. Differences are observed between Older black and older white volunteers in terms of the perceived benefits of volunteering. This study contributes to the knowledge base about the racial difference in volunteering. To do so, volunteer engagement is examined as an empowerment process between black and white older adults which provides empirical support for the relevance of the empowerment perspective to volunteering benefits in the older population. The findings of the study also illustrate that older black people are more likely than their white peers to feel empowered through organizational volunteering. Hence, engaging and retaining older volunteers of various ethnic groups can not only help address their communities’ needs but also improve the quality of life and physical and psychological well-being of themselves.