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

SEPTEMBER SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: Quilting Group Leader; Lunch Program (10:30 – 1); TRIPPS – data entry support, and/or research and writing on transportation topics; Information Desk –backup;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;Tuesday Food Pantry – strong morning (9-1) and 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 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.


Garden at walk
The 2018 Alzheimer’s Walk will be held on Sunday, September 23
. Everyone knows someone with Alzheimer’s. Please help fund research on this disease by signing up for the Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk team. Put your walking shoes on and get donations from your friends and families. You can walk either 1 ½ or 3 ½ miles while enjoying a lovely view and visiting with friends. Transportation will be provided to and from the Senior Center. It is never too early to start collecting donations. To sign up or get more information on donating, please contact Patricia, volunteer coordinator and BSC ALZHEIMER’S WALK Team Co-Captain at: 617‐730‐2743 or pburns@brooklinema.gov


  • Transportation from the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) at 8:30 sharp to the walk site (North Point Park) and back to the BSC by noon will be provided
  • No entrance/registration fee, BUT walkers are asked to raise money (make checks payable to Brookline Senior Center with Alzheimer’s in memo section of check) or donate on line to ALZ.org, BROOKLINE SENIOR CENTER TEAM. Bring cash and check donations to the BSC the morning of the walk.


  • 1/10 of people over 65 have Alzheimer’s
  • 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients are women
  • 200,000 people below 65 have early onset Alzheimer’s
  • Every 65 seconds someone in the USA develops Alzheimer’s
  • $277 BILLION will be spent on Alzheimer’s care and treatment in 2018

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 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

Volunteer Spotlight:


Carol and Phil Fullerton started to volunteer at the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) soon after they moved to Brookline in 2005. The two have always been active in community affairs, participating in many hockey and soccer programs over the years and were involved with New Hampshire Travel & Tourism. They had not anticipated joining the Senior Center, but Carol found herself coming to the BSC for an Adult Ed. group on storytelling. After noticing the need for help when passing by the gift cart, in 2006 she became one of the gift cart volunteers. Carol has continued to work on the cart, making sure the cards and gifts are tidy, and Phil has joined her as well. At the cart, Phil enjoys meeting others as they come through the doors. Carol finds that working at the cart boosts her energy and outlook, and she enjoys talking with other volunteers about “everything under the sun”, often discussing challenges of aging. She also helps organize the ‘out-to-lunch’ activities each month. The Fullertons are in charge of the raffle at the November craft fair at the Senior Center, as well as at the Town Hall. Phil is a COA Board Member, has helped with the sidewalk sale and various tasks throughout the year, such as setting up for events and helping individuals. At the BSC, he participated in the previous men’s club and now often exercises at the center’s gym. One of their favorite events at BSC is the annual visit of DJ Tommy Bahama, who gets everyone smiling and dancing. They also like going to the community lunches to socialize with friends. Volunteering helps them to keep active and busy, and Carol finds that they always leave the BSC feeling energized and uplifted.

– – by Julia Riesman, Steps for Success, Brookline High School

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. 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.

2018 Volunteer of the Year Award

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.


Ruthann Jimmy MRC

The Greater Boston Employer Advisory Board’s 21st Distinguished Employer Award was presented to Ruthann Dobek, Director and Jimmy Tong, Building Custodian on June 19th at the Massachusetts State House in the Great Hall of Flags. This award is given to a select group of employers in recognition for going above and beyond expectations in promoting diversity, employment opportunities and inclusionary hiring for qualified applicants with disabilities.

BROOKLINE SENIOR CENTER VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS: 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.


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


The annual Tax Work-Off Meeting

Thursday, September 20 at 1:00 pm

Attendance is required for every participant. A one hour credit will be given towards final program hours. Send regrets only to Deidre Waxman 617 730 2767