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Mr. RISEN HOOVER. Thank you very much.
Mr. BRADEMAS. The Chair also wants to take note of and ask unanimous consent that there be entered into the record a letter from our colleague on this subcommittee, the gentleman from Rhode Island, Mr. Beard, who was unable, because of a prior commitment on Government business, to be with us today, although he had participated in all earlier hearings on this legislation. He takes special note of the testimony of Mr. Hutton of the National Council of Senior Citizens. [The letter follows:]
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
House Or REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., January 31, 1975. Hon. JOHN BRADEMAS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Special Programs of Education, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: It is with regret that I must inform you that I will not be able to attend the Monday, February 3rd meeting, as I have already indicated to you that I had previously made a commitment on Government business prior to the notification of the Monday meeting.
I was very happy to participate in Thursday and Friday's meetings concerning the Older Americans Act. I am sure it will be very informative to hear such a distinguished individual as Mr. William Hutton, of the National Council of Senior Citizens. Please inform my colleagues and guests that I will continue to fight for the interest of our elderly Americans in this great country of ours, Thank you. Sincerely,
EDWARD P. BEARD, M.C., Second District, Rhode Island.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Our next witness is Mr. Michael Balzano, Director of ACTION, accompanied by his Deputy Director, Mr. John L. Ganley.
Wo are glad to welcome you to the subcommittee. I believe this is your first appearance.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL BALZANO, DIRECTOR, ACTION, ACCOM
PANIED BY JOHN L. GANLEY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Mr. BALZANO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In light of the late hour and the need for time for other witnesses, I will submit my opening statement for the record.
[Prepared statement referred to follows:]
PREPARED STATEY VT OF MICHAEL P. BALZANO, DIRECTOR, ACTION Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to appear today before your Select Subcommittee on Education.
In your letter of invitation you asked that we testify concerning ACTION'S Older Americans Volunteer Programs, authorized by Title II of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973. While this authorization does not espire until October of 1976, as you know, the work of ACTION's Older Americans Volunteer Programs has an important bearing upon the programs for the ging authorized by the Older Americans Act which expires on June 30. We appreciate this chance to report to you concerning the present vitality and remarkable growth of the Older Americans Volunteer Programs.
We, at ACTION, are proud of our stewardship of the National Older Americans Volunteer Programs and beliere them to be unusual among the Federal efforts on behalf of the aged, in that they regard the Older American, not only as a person who needs assistance, but as a resource rich in potential for the community, As extensions of the concept of citizen service embodied in ACTION, our Older Americans Volunteer Programs mobilize the rich resources of retired persons on behalf of society. In so doing, they provide meaningful activity and continued fulfillment for thousands of older persons.
It has been only three and one half years since ACTION assumed the responsibility for administering these programs. When ACTION was formed on July 1, 1971, an important nucleus was the two existing Older Americans Volunteer Programs, the Foster Grandparent and the Retired Senior Volunteer Programs, transferred to ACTION from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. At that time, the Foster Grandparent Program had been in existence since 1965 and operated 67 local projects with a total of 4.200 Foster Grandparents serving children in need. Today, the Foster Grandparent Program has almost tripled in size with over 12,500 Foster Grandparents serving in 156 local projects across the country.
The growth of the Retired Senior Volunteer (RSVT) has been even more remarkable. That program at the time of ACTION's creation consisted of 11 local projects with no Senior Volunteers actually participating. Today, there are 666 locally sponsored RSVP projects involving more than 117,000 Retired Senior Volunteers in service to their communities.
We are pleased with the remarkable growth of these programs and even more pleased with our success in initiating the new Senior Companion Program, first authorized in 1973 by Title II of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act. The first 18 Senior Companion projects were funded in June of 1974. By September 30, three months later, there were already 375 Senior Companions working with adult Americans having special needs. There are now 750 Senior Companions.
We at ACTION are confident that the Senior Companions Program has a promising future. Like the Foster Grandparent Program, it provides benefits to two target groups: the low-income older person who serves as a Volunteer and those adults in need whom the Senior Companions serve whether it be in hospitals, nursing homes, other institutions or in private homes.
Our Older Americans Volunteer Programs are an integral part of ACTION's overall efforts to increase the opportunities for voluntary service for all segments of the population. ACTION now is establishing State Program Offices to better accomplish this task. These state offices, are becoming the focal point for development, management, and support of RSVP, Foster Grandparents and the Agency's other Domestic Volunteer Programs. By being close to our projects, we can respond much more effectively.
This emphasis on service at the State and local level enabies ACTION staff to maintain regular contact with project sponsors and directors. During the past three months, for example, virtually all of the 810 Older Americans Volunteer projects across the country have been visited at least once by ACTION's field staff. In addition, the establishment of State Program Offices makes possible frequent consultation with State agencies on aging to discuss mutual interests in the area of Older Americans.
Through regional staff training in the problems of aging and through practical experience over the last three and a half years in the development and management of Volunteer programs geared to the older American many of our field staff have gained expertise in the administration of Older Americans Volunteer Programs.
Key to the successful growth of ACTION's Older Americans Volunteer Programs has been the cooperation and assistance of other Federal agencies and their State and local counterparts, in particular the Administration on Aging and the State and area aging offices.
Over the past three and a half years ACTION has enjoyed a close working relationship with the Administration on Aging. I would like to submit for the record a Statement of Joint Obiectives between the U.S. Administration on Aging and ACTION, signed by Dr. Flemming and Mr. Hruska, Deputs Associate Director for ACTION's Older Americans Volunteer Programs on December 4, 1974. This Statement succeeds a previous Statement of Joint Program Objectives of November 6, 1973, which I will also submit for the record, and exemplifies the spirit of cooperation between the two agencies. This Statement has heen communicated to all ACTION personnel involved with Older Americans Volunteer Programs and is being acted upon by them. Dr. Flemming has taken similar action with respect to State offices on aging.
In carrying out the statutory responsibilities of Title II of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, ACTION is working closely with State agencies on aging and their local affiliates. We are confident that this cooperation will continue. For example, more than 25,000 RSVP Volunteers are serving in the nutrition program and related social services programs funded by the AOA. In addition, staff of many of the Area Agencies on Aging serve on the advisory committees of Older Americans Volunteer Programs projects.
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The same statutory authority has provided opportunities for ACTION to coordinate Older Americans Volunteer Programs activities with other agencies and organizations with which we have initiated contact in an effort to expand and improve the role of older Americans as Volunteers.
A good example of this is the recently concluded agreement between ACTION and the Assistant Secretary for Human Development, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on Project Headstart to implement a national effort to place RSVP Volunteers in Headstart classrooms. This is a most promising development, Mr. Chairman, and with your permission I will provide a copy for the record.
Building on this effort in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Education, the National Education Association and other interested groups, ACTION is planning a national effort to enable RSVP Volunteers to bring to the education of our youth in elementary and secondary classrooms the experiences of a lifetime. This effort will be part of ACTION's observance of the nation's bicentennial in keeping with the Bicentennial theme, “A Past to Remember, A Future to Mold." It is important to note that this is not a new and costly program but simply an important variant on the opportunities for service currently provided older Americans by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. My staff and I will be happy to respond to any questions you and the Committee may have about ACTION's Older Americans Volunteer Programs.
Mr. BALZANO. I would just like to summarize a few observations I have made concerning ACTION and its administration of the older Americans volunteer programs.
The older Americans volunteer programs have fared very very well in ACTION. I think there are a number of reasons for this.
Primarily ACTION is a volunteer agency. As a volunteer agency, voluntarism is our business. Recruitment, training, technical assistance, innovative ideas and volunteer support are what we do best.
Second, a system of in-house training for all ACTION full-time volunteers, project sponsors and directors has now been developed and has been decentralized to the regions. At the present time our field people are being trained in techniques of fundraising and the generation of other resources designed to give better volunteer and program support closer at the local community level.
Third, better cooperation has been accomplished aniong ACTION programs at the local level. There seems to be some misunderstanding about this concept. In a sense there is a double benefit from it. On the one hand senior citizens in ACTION's older Americans volunteer programs are now able to interchange and interact very positively with young people in other ACTION programs—something that was lacking when our programs were totally separated.
It has been good for American youth in the ACTION programs to have this positive interaction. Local cooperation, however, has another positive benefit in that it presents the community with a mix of programs so that the best part of each program can have a greater impact on the community.
În ACTION, the cenior citizens' programs enjoy prominence. They are a top priority. As a matter of fact last year, there was discussion as to whether or not the OEO community action programs should be placed in HEW or placed in ACTION.
It is interesting to note the argument that was used by the advocates of placing the OEO programs in ACTION. The argument was, and we agree, that ACTION was a small agency and as such the community action programs could achieve a greater prominence than in a larger agency where community action efforts would somehow be less visible.
The ACTION agency really came alive about a year ago. We received our appropriations under our own authorization for the first time since the agency was created. That added a sense of identity to an already positive image in the community, an image which has made our agency a popular agency.
The older Americans programs have fared well with ACTION because the programs are still in an early stage of development. At this stage these programs can be easily monitored and evaluated by both Congress and ACTION.
Still another reason that the programs have been successful and have received wide popular support is because of the impact of a newly resurging spirit of volunteerism in America. There is no question about it, the ACTION agency has been a focal point and there has been a great deal of discussion about this new Federal role in volunteer programs.
We have had a great deal of positive change in the last year in the agency as a whole. We have a new decentralized field operation with ACTION State offices for all States. These offices are being properly staffed. We have initiated a new training program-brand new—which provides preservice and ongoing training for our staff, project supervisors, sponsors and volunteers in program administration and related subjects of interest—such as problems of the aging for our OAVP project directors and sponsors.
In short, our effort has been to reorganize our program delivery system so that we can put our resources closer to the community, thereby allowing for the maximum input of both the community and local leaders.
With that, I will answer any questions you may have.
Mr. Balzano, how many volunteers are there operating under ACTION all told of all kinds?
Mr. BALZANO. Well, the number changes by the month because it keeps going up. About 160,000 at the present time.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Of those, how many would be older Americans volunteers associated with the program?
Mr. BALZANO. We estimate about 117,000 in the RSVP program.
Mr. BRADEMAS. About 117,000? What percentage, to look at the matter anther way, of total volunteer time under ACTION programs would be represented by older American volunteers?
Mr. BALZANO. I am not quite sure I understand the question. The time?
Mr. BRADEMAS. Yes, I don't know how you calculate, I don't know how you reckon these figures.
Mr. Balzano. We have three approaches. The first kind of volunteer is a fully stipended full-time volunteer as a Vista volunteer or Peace Corps volunteer. We have some variations of that model, but essentially they are the same.
We have half-time volunteers such as foster grandparents and senior companions, who serve 4 hours a day 5 days a week. Finally, we have part-time volunteers including those in the retired senior vounteer program.
Mr. BRADEMAS. What we might do is put some questions to you in writing to get it as clearly as possible.
Mr. BALZANO. I will be very happy to answer them.
Mr. BRADEMAS. That is on the investment of ACTION in the older Americans volunteers program.
Mr. BALZ INO. Yes.
Mr. BRADEMAS. How many employees at ACTION are now working full time on foster grandparent, senior companion and RSVP programs?
Mr. GANLEY. About 450, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BRADEMAS. 450 ACTION employees are now working fulltime on foster grandparents, senior companion and RSVP? Mr. GANLEY. All of the domestic programs.
Mr. BRADEMAS. That, of course, was not my question. My question, to state it again, is, how many employees at ACTION are now working full time on foster grandparents, senior companion and RSVP programs?
Mr. BALZANO. We will have to submit it for the record and have to break it down.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Yes; because in all candor I was startled by your response because my information is it is many, many, many, many times fewer than the response of 450 that was suggested.
Mr. GANLEY. That is right. What we were thinking of was the number in our total field organization which deals with all ACTION programs.
Mr. BALZANO. I might interject that might have been the case when ACTION first became an agency, but it is not today because we have our own field structure so it multiplies many times.
Mr. BRADEMAS. What do you mean by the pronoun "that" what do you mean “that is not the case ???
Mr. Balzano. When ACTION was first set up, there was a Washington headquarters staff and coordinators in the field who had responsibility for overseeing the older Americans programs. I took the position this staffing was insufficient. What we did, therefore, was to increase the number of staff with responsibility for the older Americans volunteer programs in the field from one program coordinator in the regional office to all of the program officers located in State ACTION offices.
Mr. BRADEMAS. It sounds like the metaphysics of revenue-sharing to me and I have been through that enough to be very dubious about the validity of that kind of proposition. If I am hearing what you tell me, you can't answer my question because you are telling me that everybody cares about the old folks in ACTION?
Mr. BALZANO. That is right.
Mr. BRADEMAS. My obvious answer is when everybody does, then nobody does. You mean you are therefore not in a position to answer the question how many ACTION employees are currently working full time on these three programs I have just indicated?
Mr. Gaxley. The answer, Mr. Chairman, is, there are 16 people who are working fulltime, who have no other duties.
Mr. BRADEMAS. What is the total number of employees of ACTION, at ACTION headquarters rather and in the field?
Mr. GANLEY. IN ACTION headquarters, there are 77, and in the field, there are 357, in domestic operations.