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

Volunteering: Giving time, touching hearts

VOLUNTEERING: “Volunteers Make the World a Better Place”


The Brookline Council on Aging and the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) are always happy to enlist new volunteers who can share their talents and program ideas.

Your contributions would enable us to expand the number and variety of high level programs and activities that are provided for all seniors in Brookline. If you would like to actively pursue volunteer service, please make an appointment with Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator (617-730-2743) to learn more about the Senior Center & opportunities where you might best share your time and talent. We are always eager to hear new ideas & keep a list of volunteers for special events and future opportunities.

– – Volunteer content written by Patricia Burns


JANUARY SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: Food Commodity program on 3rd Wednesday of each month –Russian interpretersmorning and afternoon shifts and people able to help with phone calls and/or lifting 30-35 lbs. in the morning, 9-10:30 @ 50 Pleasant Street;Lunch Program – backup M-F (10:30 – 1); Information Desk –backup for morning or afternoon shifts;TRIPPS – data entry and research; Tuesday Food Pantry – strong help in the afternoon (1-4). If you would like to apply for these or other volunteer opportunities or have ideas for new opportunities at the BSC, please call Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator @ 617-730-2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov to make an appointment to talk about things you like to do, your skills and potential volunteer opportunities.

ANNUAL VOLUNTEER SURVEY: Each year in January, the BSC conducts a survey on a different pertinent topic. Last year we collected very important and somewhat disturbing data on Food Security & Insecurity in Brookline. This year Ruthann and I have narrowed the survey subjects down. Look for our short survey in your mailbox in the next few weeks. Please complete the survey and mail it back to Patricia in the pre-addressed envelope provided right away! Let your voice be heard!




The 2018 Alzheimer’s Walk was held on Sunday, September 23. The Brookline Senior Center’s 2018 Alzheimer’s Walk Team (in alphabetical order): Patricia Burns (Co-Captain), Clara Chin (Co-Captain), Jewel Chin, Jean Doherty, Sherry Lee, Jessica Milley-Gee, Soo Moy, Fran Pechenick, Fran Perler, Julia Riesman, Yolanda Rodriguez and Phyllis Young. The team participated in the walk along the beautiful North Park route and raised $4,305 (increased from $2,700 last year) for much needed research to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s. CONGRATULATIONS to the team and a fantastic effort and thanks to all who donated and supported this important project!

Photo credit to Fran Perler

LEARN TO PLAY OR IMPROVE YOUR CHESS GAME: Are you a beginner chess player or have always wanted to learn how to play? Brookline High School Chess Club students will be at the Senior Center each Friday from 3-5. If you are interested, drop in for a lesson or a game! If you have questions, call Patricia @ 617 730 2743

LIBRARY CONNECTION: Are you a lover of library books and other resources, yet unable to enjoy the pleasures of browsing on your own? We have a solution for you! The Library Connection, a partnership of Brookline’s Council on Aging and the Public Library of Brookline, provides delivery of library materials directly to homebound Brookline residents who are unable to come to the library themselves. A volunteer from the community will deliver materials to you throughout the year. If you are interested in receiving this service, contact Volunteer Coordinator Patricia Burns at the Council on Aging 617-730-2743




Vera Sharma started volunteering at the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) in 2002 when she was asked by program manager Charlotte Millmanto join the volunteer team. Around that time, Vera became involved with the senior chorus and quilting at BSC. Over the years Vera has always been eager to help with a wide array of tasks, whether the lunch room, the coffee lounge, or at the craft fair. Despite her other volunteer commitments with the Springwell lunch program at 90 Longwood Avenue, working at the poles during town elections and BCAN’s Livable Community Advocacy Committee, she continues to be an active board member on the Council on Aging as well as collect donations from local businesses for the annual craft fair. One of her favorite activities is singing and dancing with the chorus for BSC’s festivals and events. Her commitment to volunteer work at the BSC has earned her a volunteer of the year nomination for five consecutive years. At the BSC, Vera enjoys the art programs and museum visits, and finds the healthcare resources very helpful. She appreciates how the BSC enables seniors to be useful, feel valuable, and share their knowledge with younger generations. Vera has become close to other seniors who come from a diverse range of cultures, lifestyles, and experiences, and considers BSC her “second family”. – –Narrative by Julia Riesman, Steps for Success, Brookline High School



Eleanor Ruthann

Eleanor Small with Ruthann Dobek

Eleanor Small is the 2018 Volunteer of the Year.Eleanor has been volunteering at the Brookline Senior Center for more than 12 years. She has volunteered on the gift cart, in the Tuesday Food Pantry, at the Craft Fair and helping to prepare for the Annual Sidewalk Sale. She currently co-leads the Out-To-Lunch- Bunch and is an avid bridge player at the Senior Center.

One example of her warmth and love of helping and welcoming people was told to us by Ruth Geller. Eleanor was the first person that Ruth met when she visited the BSC for the first time after moving to Brookline from NYC. Ruth was observing the bridge game from afar. Eleanor told her to pull up a chair and a bit later invited her to join the game. They have been fast friends ever since.

Ruthann described Eleanor as someone who is always warm and welcoming, greeting newcomers and ‘regulars’ alike to the BSC. She never waits to be asked to help as she knows that programs at the BSC do not happen without volunteers.Eleanor is a true ambassador of the BSC and exemplifies the sharing, giving and paying it forward of John & Molly Dolan for whom this award is named.




Lisa Gaffey, Brookline High School SHOP Faculty Advisor receives award from Ruthann Dobek, Director of the Brookline Senior Center and Patricia Burns, Volunteer Coordinator

The 2018 Community Partner Award was given to the Brookline High School SHOP Program at the Brookline Senior Center’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

The S.H.O.P. (Students Helping Older People) Program has been a collaboration between the Brookline Senior Center and the community service program at Brookline High School for many years. During these years, literally hundreds of students have helped dozens of seniors. It is a win-win volunteer opportunity whereby students grocery shop for seniors in Brookline and seniors share their actual history and experience with students in a friendly visit after shopping.

Besides getting the groceries for the senior, the most important part of this program is developing meaningfulmultigenerational relationships. Some students have shopped for the same senior throughout high school and consider their elder an important part of their life; others continue to visit after graduating. The seniors tell us that they feel thattheir students are like family.

The SHOP program was a featured spot on Boston 25 News in March and also was one of the intergenerational programs discussed on Brookline cable last year. Brookline seniors and the Senior Center thank the three outgoing Student Coordinators, Nick Brown, Shahar Hartman and Roy Golan as well as the Faculty SHOP Advisor, Lisa Gaffey for their many hours of help for our seniors and welcome Sidonie Brown as the new Student Coordinator


The Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk Team photo and blurb were featured on the Your News page of the Brookline TAB on September 27.The Brookline Senior Center Food Pantry along with Springwell and the Brookline Food Pantry were filmed in June for airing on Brookline cable’s (BIG) Age Friendly City series. The topic of this episode is Food Insecurity in Brookline. The program can be viewed on: http://www.brooklinecan.org/index.html#TV and http://www.brooklinecan.org/agefriendly.html#TV.The SHOP Program between Brookline High School and Brookline Senior Center was featured on Boston 25 News on Thursday, February 22. The link to see the feature story can be found athttps://t.co/9zECVvJDEd. The Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk Team photo and blurb were featured on the Your News page of the Brookline TAB on September 28. Ruthann was quoted in a recent article in theCommonwealth Magazine (http://CommonwealthMagazine.org/economy). Brookline shared an article with the Chicopee COA in the October issue of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Medex quarterly publication, Healthy Times. Brookline Senior Center intergenerational volunteers were spotlighted on Wednesday, March 29 on BIG, the local TV channel. If you missed it, you can find the ½ hour program link on the BCAN website or on the BIG Facebook page https://youtu.be/iDDCgi8vKCk. Patricia also updates the volunteer pages of the Town and BSC websites and contributes to the BCAN Volunteer page monthly. She urges 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, 2016 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


SHINE:Open Enrollment for Medicare supplemental insurance is in full swing!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 at the BSC (All appointments during this year’s open enrollment are full.) should call 617 730 2777.

SHINE trains counselors in a 2 days/week – 6 week 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 (MCAB) on a new grant to train vision impaired seniors on new technological equipment that has been installed in the BSC computer lab. Jeremias Feliz has taken over for Sassy (Sassy has been promoted to a new position at MCAB), as the new VIBRANT Program Trainer and will be available with other volunteers by appointment on Wednesdays from 1-5 and most Thursdays.

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 left in thebin under the table in the reception area at the BSC.

REAP   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 (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



Thursday, January 17th from 2-3:30

Brookline Senior Center

Please join us for our annual REAP holiday party. We will review 2018 and celebrate the New Year. Come and tell us about your job search and volunteer efforts in 2018, what programs you would like to see REAP offer in 2019 and share some refreshments.  RSVP required. To register, please call Deidre Waxman at: 617-730-2767 or email her at dwaxman@brooklinema.gov or Patricia Burns at: 617 730 2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov