93 Winchester St. Brookline, MA 02446    617 . 730 . 2770    info@brooklineseniorcenter.org

Volunteering: Giving time, touching hearts

The Brookline Council on Aging and the Brookline Senior Center are happy to enlist new volunteers to share their talents and program ideas.

Your contributions enable us to expand service and activities for all elders in Brookline. If you would like to pursue volunteer service, please make an appointment with Patricia, the volunteer coordinator 617. 730. 2743 for an opportunity to learn more about the Center and opportunities where you might best use your time and talent/skills. We are eager to hear new ideas and have a list of volunteers for special events.

– – All volunteer content written by Patricia Burns



This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: friendly visitors, strong volunteers for the Tuesday Food Pantry afternoon shift – 1-3:30, help with the monthly Food Commodity Program on the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month, and volunteers to bring fliers around to local businesses advertising BSC special events such as the TRIPPS Challenges and the Annual BSC Craft Fair as well as volunteers to do audio and visual interviews of seniors who have successfully taken the TRIPPS Transportation Challenge to use alternate transportation.

If you would like to apply for these or other volunteer opportunities at the Brookline Senior Center, please call Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator @ 617 730 2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov



The walk was held onSunday September 25th:Thirteen volunteers, staff and COA members participated in this year’s walk. It was a glorious, crisp and sunny day. The route is beautiful along the river and boats, near the US Constitution and in view of the Bunker Hill Monument. We are so happy to report that the Senior Center raised more than $2,000 this year. Team leaders were Clara Chin and Patricia Burns, who was joined by her daughter Monique Thompson and granddaughter Isabelle Thompson. Other walkers were: Sherry Lee, Phyllis Young, Jean Doherty, Kathy Harris, Barbara Kean, Yolanda Rodriguez, Jewel Chin, Fran Pechenick and Susan Guiraudet. Special thanks to Goddard House that provided t-shirts, promotional materials, bling and transportation to and from BSC and the walk site.


walk team

The 2016 Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk Team



Dina Oliver:

Dina says that she started coming to the BSC for activities, lunches and movies in the early 1990s. After a few years, she went back to work full time, but soon returned and started to spend some time learning the gift cart with Sarah. Dina said that coincidentally her mother had also worked on a gift cart in her community. After a while, Dina started filling in for Sarah who needed to be available for her family’s health issues. As the time passed, Dina added other volunteer activities such as helping set up and ‘man’ the Christmas table at the Annual BSC Craft Fair and helping with the Summer BSC Sidewalk Sale. She said she has enjoyed watching the Senior Center grow and evolve, watched the renovations to expand the Fitness Center and opening some evenings and weekends to accommodate even more programs and activities. Dina will be taking a break from the gift cart, but will be back as soon as weather and health allow.



“One of our strengths is recruiting volunteers. We have >343 volunteers of all ages – 12 – 96 performing 462 activities.Many are active in more than one activity; many have volunteered with us for ten years or more. These volunteers, most of whom are seniors themselves, donate the equivalent number of hours of more than 20 full-time staff. Without our volunteers, the BSC could not provide the number and variety of programs and activities that we offer to seniors.”


Ruthann continues to ask that all of our volunteers add one more important job to their volunteering – being an ambassador for the Brookline Senior Center. She asks that we all be aware of new faces here or in our community – churches, synagogues, neighborhoods or social networks – and welcome and encourage seniors to come to the BSC.  Our volunteers know that the secret to longevity is active involvement and physical fitness.



Susan Finitsis: Susan has been a volunteer at the BSC for 10 years. Some of the jobs she has done are working in the Tuesday Food Pantry, helping with the Autumn Benefit and providing information, referrals and registrations for various programs at the I & R desk on the 2nd floor of the BSC. We will miss Susan who has moved out of state to be closer to her family.


Susan Finitsis

– – photo by Mimi Katz



Peter Stringham: Peter has been a volunteer with the BSC for 9 years. Peter’s ‘claim to fame’ at the BSC was his involvement as an integral part of the team creating the beautiful flower arrangements from the flower donations of Trader Joe’s enjoyed by all in various parts of the building every week. Peter will be missed as he moves out of the Brookline community.


Peter w bouquet




Check the pile of items on your ‘to-do-list’! We still are hoping to receive missing or greatly outdated forms from your individual volunteer file. It is amazing that some of you who have volunteered for many years still have missing forms that you do need to complete and return either by mail or by dropping them off at the BSC in the self-addressed envelope enclosed in the mailing. As Ruthann said at a recent COA meeting, ‘the Town can audit our files at any time and would expect them to be complete and up-to-date’.  She also stressed that these files are where your emergency contacts are kept. Should you become ill or have an emergency while at the BSC, we could assist you more quickly with up-to-date forms.

Any questions, or if you need a new copy of the forms, please contact Patricia at 617 730 2743 or pburns@brooklinema.gov or better yet, stop by her office.



Patricia is now updating the volunteer pages of the Town and BSC websites and contributing to the BCAN Volunteer page monthly. She urged everyone to check these websites (www.brooklineseniorcenter.org/,www.brooklinema.gov/) and http://www.brooklinecan.org/. Brookline Senior Center volunteers were featured in an article in the April issue of the fiftyplus advocate entitled Volunteering: A Work of Heart at the Brookline Senior Center. The article can be found on line at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.An article,‘What Makes Brookline Council On Aging So Extraordinary?’ has been submitted and accepted for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Medex quarterly publication, Healthy Times. We will let you know when it will be published.



Ruthann indicated that this award is given to a volunteer who was nominated and exemplified sharing, giving and paying it forward. The 2016 awardwas presented to Muriel Stark. Ruthann outlined some of the many ways that Muriel has volunteered and most importantly her position as BSC ambassador as well as her “we’ll get through it” attitude. In addition to the certificate of award, Muriel was also given a lovely plant and a bowl of chocolates. Ruthann then announced the Community Partner Award that was given to Trader Joe’s this year. She thanked them for their weekly donation of flowers, produce and the festive Hawaiian luau event and encouraged all of us to thank them when we were in the store.





SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with Councils on Aging and other aging service access points. SHINE helps people on Medicare and others understand complex insurance options. SHINE volunteer counselors educate and provide unbiased help to choose an insurance program best for the individual. SHINE trains counselors in a 2 days/week -6 weeks course. Meetings to get support and meet with other counselors occur monthly. Once certified, you will be assigned to work 6 hours per week in a senior center or other public setting. If you are interested in becoming a certified counselor, call Dorene Nemeth, MetroWest Regional SHINE Director: 781 455 7555, ext. 202. (To make a SHINE appointment with a BSC counselor, call 617 730 2777.



Help a visually impaired person by reading or shopping with them. No special skills needed. Call Kyle Robidoux, Director of Volunteer Support Services, Mass Commission for the Blind – 617 926 4312.



The Brookline Emergency Food Bank needs donations of instant coffee and tea, sugar, oil, flour, spices, pasta, canned tomatoes and sauce, canned soup, beans, vegetables, fruit (low salt and sugar) dry beans, healthy snacks for kids, granola bars, and fruit cups. They also need toiletries such as: shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and sunscreen (not covered by SNAP).

Donations may be made at Brookline’s Emergency Food Bank in St. Paul’s Church, 15 St. Paul St. 617 872 3060


This Newton-based choral group focuses on performing and supporting the music of women composers. Concerts from November to May take place in Newton and Boston. Cappella Clausura would like to offer warm and welcoming Brookline Senior volunteers free admission to their concerts in exchange for helping to greet patrons, direct audience members to ticket lines, usher and hand out programs. Interested volunteers should contact Anne Kern @ manager@clausura.org or 617 993 0013


Retirement Engagement Alternatives Program

 The REAP program for Brookline senior residents 55 or 60 and above (depending on the program) is designed for people who wish to remain engaged and active in the community while in retirement or partial retirement. The goal of this program is to enhance the retirement experience by linking participants with either part-time paid or volunteer work in the community or at the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) itself.

The BSC partners with several other local organizations to offer fulfilling and interesting opportunities. These include, but are not limited to: BrooklineCAN (BCAN), Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Brookline Adult and Community Education, Executive Office of Elder Affairs and Various Brookline Town departments. In addition, opportunities exist for Tax Work-Off, and limited grant funded employment at the BSC for qualified Brookline residents.

The REAP program provides the following free services: individual, confidential and free consultation around skills and interests, on-going skills based workshops and training for employment seekers, employer-employee matching service, consultation and matching for participants seeking meaningful volunteer opportunities and on-going opportunities to network and explore avenues and options for self-fulfillment in the retirement years.

To enroll or for more information, call 617 730 2767 or email Deidre at dwaxman@brooklinema.gov

Brookline seniors – Boomers & Beyond – are eligible to receive free individual help with resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles as well as tips on phone, skype, in-person and mock interviews. To schedule an appointment, call Patricia at 617 730 2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov


October REAP Event


Thursdays, October 13, 20 and 27 from 1-4 pm

A Job Search Program for Mature Workers will be held on 3 consecutive Thursday afternoons in October – October 13, 20 and 27 – from 1-4. This comprehensive 3-session workshop helps you identify your transferrable skills, accomplishments and experience,helps revise or create resumes, develop an elevator pitch, cover letters, and give critical information about interviewing today and an overview of the ins and outs of LinkedIn profiles. Job search techniques, networking and resources are also discussed. Seniors looking for work or for volunteer opportunities would benefit from this workshop thatwill be facilitated by Patricia Burns, REAP Counselor.  Registration is required.  To reserve call:  Deidre Waxman at 617-73-2767 or Patricia Burns at 617-730-2743 or email pburns@brooklinema.gov