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: help distributing fliers advertising TRIPPS, the BSC Craft Fair and other programs & activities, audio and video interviewing of seniors after they complete a Transportation Challenge, friendly visitors, help with the monthly Food Commodity program on the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month, Tuesday ‘muscle’ help with the Food Pantry both morning 9-1 and afternoon 1-4 shifts.

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

walk team

2016 Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk Team:  Sherry Lee, Jewel Chin, Kathy Harris, Isabelle Thompson, Patricia Burns, Fran Pechenick, Barbara Kean and Clara Chin.  Yolanda Rodriguez, Phyllis Young, Monique Thompson, Susan Guiraudet, Jean Doherty



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 $2,023 this year. Team leaders were Clara Chin and Patricia Burns, who were joined by Patricia’s 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.


Agnes Rogers


Agnes Rogers, at 97, is  the oldest regular volunteer serving the Brookline Senior Center. Her age does not stop her from coming every weekday to help with the lunch program.

Agnes is also the Honorary COA Chair Emeritus having served as the Chair for many years until this September when she handed the position over to Roberta Winitzer.Agnes still is an active participant in the monthly COA meetings.

She has been active in COA and BSC affairs since before this building was built and has been a vocal advocate during Town budget meetings regarding funding for seniors in Brookline. She has also been the President of the Brookline Housing Authority Tenants’ Association. Agnes has often said, “When I started fighting for the Senior Center, I didn’t realize that I would be fighting for myself someday.”

When asked what she liked best about volunteering, Agnes did not hesitate before saying, “getting out every day, making new friends and experiencing different aspects of friendship”.


“One of our strengths is recruiting volunteers. We have 349 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

– photo by Mimi Katz

Susan Finitsis: Susan was 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.

Peter w bouquet

Peter Stringham: Peter was 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 flowers donatedby 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.


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. Patricia also updates 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 entitledVolunteering: A Work of Heart at the Brookline Senior Center. The article can be found on line at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.



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 other seniors understand complex insurance options. SHINE volunteer counselors educate and provide unbiased help to choose an insurance program best for the individual. Seniors interested in making an appointment with a BSC SHINE counselor – especially during the open enrollment period – should call 617 730 2777.

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.


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 low 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 income 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

November REAP Event

WORKSHOP: Boomers Shifting Gears – – Wednesday, November 16      5:00 – 6:30 pm

Brookline Senior Center, 93 Winchester Street, Brookline

This workshop, facilitated by Mia Louik, is designed for Boomers who are in a variety of transitions related to what comes next in their retirement years. This will be an educational, interactive presentation focusing on:

  • Opportunities/options you might not have considered
  • A broadening awareness of yourself and your potential
  • An increased understanding of your strengths and what you bring to new opportunities, and
  • An action plan to help you move forward

The workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration before November 14 is required. To register or for questions contact:  Deidre Waxman at 617-730-2767 or email dwaxman@brooklinema.gov