Student snow-shovelers sought to match with seniors, disabled
The Fairfield Senior Center is looking for middle school and high school students willing to shovel snow for senior citizens and the disabled -- either as volunteers or for pay.
The center said it wants to build a network of youths in grades six through 12 who could be enlisted to shovel walkways, sidewalks, steps and driveways for older residents.
Scout troops and other youth groups interested in volunteer community-service opportunities would be ideal, according to senior center officials, but the network also could match youths with seniors willing to pay shovelers.
For paid snow removal, fees would be negotiated by the shoveler and the customer, the senior center said, but it suggested fees of $10 per hour.
The shoveler network has been proposed in response to what the senior center said were "numerous" calls to the first selectman's office over the past two winters from seniors looking for help clearing snow from their walks and driveways.
No goal has been set for the number of enlisted shovelers, and the center said it had no estimate of how many seniors and disabled might use the service if it is offered.
Fairfield has nearly 9,000 residents age 64 and older, according to the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, about 15 percent of its population.
The senior center envisions a system under which youths would register as shovelers, and their names and contact information would be given to seniors or disabled people who call the center seeking shovelers.
Seniors would be responsible for providing shovels, ice scrapers and other equipment needed to do the job, the center said. Shovelers would have to provide their own transportation to each job.
To register, a student would have to submit a permission form signed by a parent allowing the center to share the youth's name and contact information with seniors. Parents would have to provide health insurance to cover any injury or illness sustained while shoveling, and they would have to sign a waiver of liability, the senior center said.
Students and parents interested in more information about the shoveling initiative should call the Fairfield Senior Center at 203-256-3166.