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) for an opportunity 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.
– – All volunteer content written by Patricia Burns
MAY SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: Coffee Duty –Friday mornings 8-9am; Information Desk – Tuesdays 11-1 from June to October & Thursdays from 3-5;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;Food Pantry – volunteers for morning and afternoon (able to lift 30 lbs.) set-up, shopping assistance and Russian interpreters for Tuesday afternoons (1-4); Smartphones and other Technology -1-on-1 assistance for seniors with their Smartphones and other technology.
If you would like to apply for these or other volunteer opportunities at the BSC, 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 potential volunteer opportunities.
LEARN TO PLAY OR IMPROVE YOUR CHESS GAME: Are you a beginner chess player or have always wanted to learn how to play? Three Brookline High School seniors who are co-captains of the Brookline High School Chess Club 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 leave their home. A volunteer from the community will deliver materials to you throughout the year. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or receiving this service, contact Volunteer Coordinator Patricia Burns at the Council on Aging 617-730-2743.
2018 Community Partner of the Year
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 meaningful multigenerational 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. Patricia thanked the three outgoing Student Coordinators, Nick Brown, Shahar Hartman and Roy Golan as well as the Faculty SHOP Advisor, Lisa Gaffey and announced that this year’s Community Partner Award was awarded to the Brookline High School SHOP Program.
QUOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR, RUTHANN DOBEK: “One of our strengths is recruiting volunteers. We have 408 volunteers of all ages – 12 – 97 performing 526 activities. Many are active in more than one activity; many have volunteered with us for ten years or more; 20have paid jobs elsewhere; and 51 volunteer elsewhere. 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 BSC. 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.
BROOKLINE SENIOR CENTER VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS: 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
2018 VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON: April 11, 2018
The total number of attendees was 106 comprised ofvolunteers, COA Board Members, Town of Brookline representatives, BSC staff and social work interns.
A delicious luncheon, served by BSC staff and social work interns including salad, rolls, meatballs, chicken parmesan, eggplantparmesan, stuffed shells and assorted pastries was enjoyed by all. A very enjoyable and well received slide show of participants in past events and programs and volunteers in action was shown during lunch.
Roberta Winitzer, COA Chair welcomed everyone to the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and extended her thanks on behalf of the Brookline Senior Center for all the volunteers’ contributions.
Roberta then introduced Daniel Price, pianist and graduate of Berkeley School of Music whoperformed several original compositions honoring Brookline seniors who he met at the Brookline Senior Center – Barbara Kean, Eleanor Small, Muriel Stark as well as a closing piece that he had composed for his grandmother with whom he is very close.
Roberta then introduced Nancy Heller the new COA liaison of the Select Board who has always been a strong advocate of the BSC. We are hoping that she will continue advocating for us.
Nancy welcomed and thanked all the volunteers for coming. She said that she is honored to be the Select Board Liaison. She has been the Co-chair of Age Friendly City Committee with Frank Caro and Ruthann Dobek and served on the School Committee with Agnes Rogers. Nancy firmly believes that it takes a village to accomplish many things. She said that Brookline relies on its many volunteers who are active in all Town activities. None are valued more than the volunteers of BSC. In fact, this building was a collaboration of the Select Board, the School Committee, joint charitable organizations and volunteers who worked together to make it happen. She said that it is wonderful to see volunteers working together and appreciating each other’s knowledge, skills and values.
Nancy gave a brief overview of the Override Proposal. She explained that this would be a Debt Exclusion override whereby a bond was secured for the capital project of expanding the Brookline High School. She said that this was outside the normal capital budget. The expansion is necessary because there has been a 40% increase in elementary school students over the last 10 years with an expected impact from the current 2,000 BHS students to 2,600 in the next 5-6 years and education and our kids are our priority.
Nancy also said that the proposal included funds for the park and Cypress Field, streets, sidewalks and the Gym and upgrading mechanical systems in the pool. Part of the operational override will fund ½ a social work position here at the BSC, new snow removal equipment, sidewalk repairs, building repairs and library repairs. She said that the BSC is one of the most popular places in the Town. As such, people are trying to think of ways to expand it.
Nancy added that we need to maintain our excellent AAA bond rating. This rating greatly affects our ability to get lower interest rate loans. It is deemed a good move to secure bonds to fund overrides to keep up with operational challenges.
Nancy thanked all the volunteers for their service.
A question was raised about Affordable Housing for Seniors. Nancy said that an RFI was in progress for 100% such units in Brookline Village and the JCHE proposal had been approved to move forward on the corner of Williams and Harvard Streets.
Ruthann Dobek, Director of the COA led a moment of silence for those dedicated and caring volunteers who were ill, who were honorary volunteers who had cared for so many during their years of service or who had passed during the year.
Julie Washburn then gave the following memorial speech for Vivian Freedman while her photo was shown on the screen.
This year’s luncheon is dedicated to the memory of Vivian H. Freeman, who served as our Volunteer Coordinator for 18 years.
A Brookline resident, Vivian was a Wellesley College graduate, with a Masters in Education. Her life was devoted to volunteering and service. She published articles about volunteerism, mentored many and put together a multitude of volunteer programs.
Like all of our volunteers, Vivian improved the lives of countless Brookline Seniors. As a volunteer, you not only help others,you keep Vivian’s devotion to volunteer service alive, through your acts of kindness, caring and giving.
Thanks to the generosity of David Freeman for sponsoring this luncheon in memory of his mother Vivian.
Patricia Burns, Volunteer Coordinator welcomedall of our Brookline Senior Center volunteers. She said that it is indeed our pleasure to show our appreciation for your hours and hours of generosity and talent-sharing!
She then gave excerpts from a recent article – Planning to Live to 100? Volunteer!In which the president of AARP relayed that researchers have found that one way to delay the effects of aging and extend our years of healthy life is to volunteer.
Researchers refer to volunteering as ‘the silver bullet, a positive jolt, and a giver’s high’. The US Census data applied by CDC reported that states with high volunteer rates have lower incidences of heart disease.
Other benefits include: lower mortality rates, less depression, higher rates of self-esteem and happiness, a renewed sense of purpose, and prevention of social isolation.
And GREAT NEWS – They also found that these benefits were greatest in older volunteers!
Patricia then spoke about the S.H.O.P. (Students Helping Older People) Program that 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 meaningful multigenerational relationships. Some students have shopped for the same person throughout high school and consider their elder an important part of their life; others continue to visit after graduating or when their senior moves to assisted living or a nursing home and no longer needs grocery shopping. The seniors tell us that they feel like their 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. Patricia thanked the three outgoing student coordinators, Nick Brown, Shahar Hartman and Roy Golan as well as the Faculty SHOP Coordinator, Lisa Gaffey and announced that this year’s Community Partner Award is going to the Brookline High School SHOP Program.
Patriciathenreminded everyone that while staff are sometimes nominated for volunteer of the year, they are not eligible for this award. In addition, this is not an election where the person with the highest number of votes wins. She then announced the nominees in alphabetical order. They are: Jeny Brook, Alice Fastov, Carol & Phil Fullerton, Sergio Hernandez, RhonaHirshowitz, Margaret Lawrence, Akemi Minami, Frances Pechenick, Vera Sharma, Eleanor Small and David & Louise Weinberg.
Roberta then introduced Ruthann Dobek, who Roberta said continues to be our leader in making the Senior Center a place for all to meet with friends and develop a supportive and fun community. Ruthann then announced to Volunteer and Community Partner of the Year
Presentation of Awards: Ruthann indicated that The John and Molly Dolan Volunteer of the Year Award is given to a nominated volunteer who exemplifies sharing, giving and paying it forward. She spoke of Molly and John who were a couple dedicated to the BSC when it was housed at Devotion School years ago.
2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Eleanor Small with Ruthann Dobek
Ruthann announced that Eleanor Small is the 2018 Volunteer of the Year. 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 and that the gift cart would not open if it was not staffed. Eleanor also currently co-leads the ‘Out To Lunch Bunch’, a popular social activity. Ruthann ended by adding a bit of joking related to Daniel Price’s humor in his musical composition about the possibility that Eleanor, an avid bridge player, might just cheat a bit while playing bridge!
Ruthann then spoke about the things that really make us happy:
- Health of both body and mind – nutrition, exercise, volunteering and sleep
- Community – connections, relationships, friendships and activities
- Service to others – giving of ourselves
- Having gratitude – for each other, the town, the building, the COA staff and volunteers
Ruthann closed her comments by reminding everyone that we would have to close the doors to the Senior Center, rather than be talking about expanding programs, without the volunteers. Roberta said how much she appreciated how we connect as a group and that our volunteer program could be used as a model for others
COLLABORATIVE VOLUNTEER EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
CAPPELLA CLAUSURA: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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 617 993 0013.
GENERATIONS INCORPORATED: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. To find out more about the program please call 617 423 6633 or email email@example.com to RSVP
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
MAY REAP EVENT
Thursday, May 10th 3-4 pm
Information Session: Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)
Please join Job Placement, Vocational and Rehabilitation Specialists from MRC. Learn how MRC can help you gain new job skills and search for employment.
All Brookline Seniors are Welcome