BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- They spend countless hours in the classroom – decades after they attended school themselves. Whether it's painting murals on the walls of a new elementary school, reading with students in the classroom or raising funds for much needed supplies - Del Webb residents are known for their volunteer efforts in schools across the nation.
"We are bringing together two different generations and it's a very positive experience for both," said Barbara Graves, 67, who is known by the students at Rutland Elementary School as 'Grandma Rutland'. Dozens of Graves' neighbors volunteer with her at the school, which is located across the street from Lake Providence by Del Webb in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. "I feel like I've become a surrogate grandmother of hundreds of children. The kids make their way into your heart and the teachers are so appreciative of the time and resources we provide them."
Nearly 70 percent of Del Webb communities have reported an increase in the level of volunteerism over the past three years, according to findings from a recent internal Company survey. Del Webb regularly conducts surveys at its more than 50 active selling communities nationwide to monitor new and emerging trends. In the same survey, 75 percent of the communities reported a high level of volunteerism by residents; a trend that has continued even as most Del Webb communities have seen an increase in the number of still-working residents in the past ten years, said Judy Julison, national director of lifestyle operations for the Company.
"We find that the core motivations of active adult homebuyers center around leading more fulfilling lives - and that doesn't just mean engaging in social and recreational activities or working out at the gym," Julison said. "Baby Boomers have been changing this country for decades and they continue to look for ways to make a difference. Today, fulfillment includes giving back to society, and one of the most rewarding ways is in your own community and in local schools where the need is great. At the same time, you stay active and connected while growing personally as you help others learn."
According to the most recent Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey, 60 to 70 percent of 55 and 64-year-olds surveyed said they are or plan to participate in volunteer activities. Most cited "personal fulfillment," "giving back to the community," and "helping others" as the main reasons why volunteerism was so important.
As the leading builder of active adult communities, Del Webb has seen hundreds of examples of residents' volunteering and getting involved. At Sun City Carolina Lakes, the community's Woodworkers Guild formed a relationship with the Trades Department at Indian Land High School. A host of volunteers teach various projects in the woodworking area of the shop – from teaching basic materials and design skills to turning ball point pens on a lathe and making wooden cutting boards, bowls and tool boxes.
"These volunteers give their wealth of knowledge and talent so these kids can learn skills that will very well help them for many years to come," said Mark Bonda, building construction instructor at the high school. "The partnership and experience they bring to the table is indispensable to the school. We would not be able to teach what we teach and offer the tools in the shop without their involvement."
The Del Webb residents also talk to the students about career planning, help update curriculum and sit on the advisory board for the high school. They recently collected funds to donate a special table saw that has a stopping mechanism that will not allow it to cut through flesh, Bonda said.
For volunteers like those with the Woodworkers Guild, the Del Webb community lifestyle provides many outlets for people seeking ways to give back to the community.
"When we deliver the school supplies, the principals and teachers are thrilled and sometimes overcome with emotion at the generosity of our Del Webb residents," said Michele Ramsey, who lives in Del Webb's Sun City Mesquite north of Las Vegas. She and others in the community collect supplies for three schools in the area and residents also volunteer in the classroom. "We read stories, assist in the classroom, help chaperone field trips and even work with the kids on science experiments. There's never an end to the ways you can give back."
About Del Webb
Del Webb is a national brand of PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM). Del Webb, the pioneer of active adult retirement communities, is America's leading builder of developments for people ages 55+. Since 1960, Del Webb has redefined retirement and retirement living by meeting the housing and lifestyle needs of the active Baby Boomer. Del Webb's amenities and program offerings provide residents an engaging environment, which fulfills their creative, social, physical fitness and intellectual needs as they journey into the next chapter in their lives – whether it means retirement or still working. Del Webb has grown to more than 50 communities currently open for new home sales in 20 states. For more information on Del Webb, visit www.delwebb.com. To learn more about how to plan a smart future, check out financial tools at www.delwebb.com/value.
SOURCE Del Webb