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Feel Great With a Second Act

BCBSRI has partnered with state agencies to create Second Act—a new program for our members that aims to connect BlueCHiP for Medicare members with volunteer opportunities, from being a foster grandparent to serving meals to tutoring. Here's the story of one BlueCHiP for Medicare member who has made a big difference in the lives of her friends and neighbors.

Penny Fitch, age 72
Board Chair at Edward King House Senior Center in Newport

The first time Penny Fitch went to the Edward King House Senior Center, it was to do chair yoga for her arthritis. “I realized I’d been missing a wonderful opportunity by not coming here earlier.”

As she started spending more time at the King House, she noticed that people in the lunch room weren’t chatting much. So she asked to expand the birthday party program. “Instead of just giving out cupcakes once a month, I thought everyone should also get a card and we should sing happy birthday,” said Penny. “I’d print out humorous quotes in 22-point font and each person would read theirs—and some did it as dramatically as actors. Now people always tell me when their birthday is!”

Since then, Penny has taught diabetes prevention classes, started a walking club, and became board chair. “I encourage everyone to consider volunteering. If you can overcome the fear of doing something for the first time, you’ll be so rewarded. It makes me feel like I have a purpose—and that there’s so much ahead of me.”

Join our new volunteerism program

Interested in giving volunteering a try? Hundreds of local organizations could benefit from your skills and experience. To find a good match for your interests, contact the United Way of Rhode Island at