The Brookline Senior Center Honors its Volunteers at 2022 Appreciation Event

With a vocalist and pianist as the opening act, the 2022 Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Senior Center on April 13 began on a celebratory note as Council on Aging members and staff gathered to honor Council on Aging volunteers for their contributions during the past two years.

Yolanda Rodriguez, COA chair, led off the tributes, extending gratitude on behalf of the council and Senior Center for the work done by the volunteers. Ruthann Dobek, the center’s director, asked for a moment of silence to remember “those dedicated and caring volunteers” who have passed away and those lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruthann introduced the center’s new volunteer coordinator, Valerie Graf, who expressed an eagerness to work with current volunteers at the center and recruit new ones and called on those interested in volunteering or expanding their volunteer hours to contact her at or 617-730-2743.

The following nominees for Volunteer of the Year Awards and their contributions were announced by Ruthann:

Marcia Goldstein – “Marcia tirelessly came in throughout the pandemic [to assist with] the Grab-and-Go lunch.”

Mimi O’Connor – “Mimi provided the Food Commodity Program throughout the pandemic.”

John Seay – “We were one of the first town buildings to offer hybrid and Zoom meetings, thanks to donated equipment and John’s expertise in getting us set up.”

Michael Weston – “Michael never missed a day providing Grab-and-Go lunch and getting the newsletter out during the pandemic.”

In the category of special awards, Emily Rindermann, a Johnson & Wales doctoral capstone student intern, was honored with a student award for having done “everything from transportation to running a program, providing support for our Tech Buddies program, helping with income tax appointments, and helping with lunch. There isn’t one program this whole semester that she didn’t involve herself in and dedicate herself to.”

In the category of community service awards, the following AARP tax program volunteers were recognized: George Chin (coordinator), Doug BehrJade CarrelChris DippelCarol FranklinTanya GurianConstantine HanzisKathy HarrisRose MandelbaumHernan MosqueraEd PaloEdye Rulin, and Monica Wheeler.

The John & Molly Dolan Volunteer of the Year Award went to George Chin, of whom Ruthann said: “The first program in 2020 that the Senior Center brought back, besides the Grab-and-Go lunch during the pandemic, was the AARP Income Tax program. We had to do special contactless appointments that year [2020], and George and his team prevailed. Year 2 [2021] was also contactless, making it safe for the volunteers and everyone coming into the building; over 200 appointments were completed, with COVID protocol, that year. Over 200 appointments have been held this year with 12 volunteers.”

Rounding out the event, John VanScoyoc, the Brookline Select Board’s representative to the COA, commended Yolanda and Dobek for their efforts and acknowledged the council’s early pivot to remote and, later, hybrid meetings, programs, and events during the pandemic. He praised volunteers, COA members, and Senior Center patrons for “their service, commitment, and vivacity.”