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
JANUARY SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:
This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: help distributing fliers advertising TRIPPS and other programs & activities, assistance for seniors with their SmartPhones, help with the monthly Food Commodity program on the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month, Tuesday ‘muscle’ help with the Food Pantry afternoons 1-4, as well as audio and video interviewing of seniors after they complete a TRIPPS Transportation Challenge.
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 email@example.com to make an appointment to talk about things you like to do, your skills and opportunities to volunteer at the BSC.
SHOP: “Students Helping Older People”
The S.H.O.P. Program has been a community service program at Brookline High School for many years. It is a win-win volunteer opportunity where students grocery shop for an elder in Brookline and seniors share their actual history and experience with students. It is a weekly to biweekly commitment that is usually shared with a student partner. It starts with visiting the elder’s home to get a grocery list and money, then shopping, and returning with the groceries.
In addition to getting the groceries for the senior, the most important part of this program is developing meaningful multigenerational relationships. Some students have shopped for the same person throughout high school and consider their elder an important part of their life. And the feeling is always mutual.
When surveying seniors in the program, we receive overwhelmingly positive feedback about the students. Likewise, when doing follow-up with the students, either during annual orientation or from unsolicited comments, the students are extremely positive about their relationships with ‘their seniors’. One student continued to visit his senior regularly after she transferred to an assisted living facility where meals were provided and she no longer needed shopping!
The Brookline High School has a list of students eager to shop for seniors needing some help. If you are or know a senior who would like student shopping help, please call Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator at 617 730 2743 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANNUAL VOLUNTEER SURVEY: Check your mail in a few weeks! The annual volunteer survey will be coming your way with some new and interesting questions. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and mail it or drop it off in the Senior Center in the addressed envelope that will be included in the mailing.
This core group of volunteers pictured here meets each month to make sure that the monthly Senior News and Events Newsletter is mailed to more than 500 seniors. This core group and other mailing volunteers prepare all Council on Aging mailings, some of which for new gallery exhibits, special events and fundraisers are more than 700 pieces. They also do mailings for the Brookline Town Hall. One of the largest mailings this year for the Brookline Human Resources Department was 3,000 pieces and was finished in 3 hours!
Some mailing volunteers have been a part of this group for more than four years, while others have recently joined. It is a wonderful, multi-culturalsocial group.If you are interested in joining, call Patricia Burns @ 617 730 2743.
Agnes Rogers, at 97 years old, is now the oldest very 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”.
QUOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR, RUTHANN DOBEK:
“One of our strengths is recruiting volunteers. We have 352 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. Our volunteers are here and in the community every day. We would have to close our doors if we had to go without their thousands of hours of dedicated work.”
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.
QUOTE FROM A VOLUNTEER:
“When I was in the hospital, I couldn’t wait to get out… not to go home, but to be able to come back to the Senior Center and my friends here.”
BROOKLINE SENIOR CENTER VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS:
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.
VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY PARTNER OF 2016:
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.
We are starting to prepare for this year’s Volunteer Luncheon which will be held on April 5th.
COLLABORATIVE VOLUNTEER EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
MASS COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND:
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 Senior Center is collaborating with the MA Commission for the Blind on a new grant to train vision impaired seniors on new technological equipment that will be installed in the BSC computer lab.
BROOKLINE’S EMERGENCY FOOD BANK:
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 @ email@example.com or 617 993 0013.
Generations Incorporated is recruiting older adult volunteers to help improve reading skills for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students in classroom settings twice a week at either the Winship School in Brighton or the Lydon School in West Roxbury. An informational session at the Brookline Senior Center will be held on Friday, December 9 from 1-2:30 to find out more about the program. Please call 617 423 6633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Drop ins are also welcome!
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
JANUARY REAP EVENT
Celebrate the New Year and review the old
Share your job search efforts and discoveries in 2016
Learn from others’ experiences
Participate in a group discussion of what’s in store for you and the REAP program in 2017
RSVP to Deidre @ 617 730 2767 or Patricia @ 617 730 2743