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) 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

APRIL SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: –Food Pantry – volunteers for morning and afternoon (able to lift 30 lbs.) set-up, shopping assistance and Russian interpreters for Tuesday afternoons (1-4); 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;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 pburns@brooklinema.gov 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



Marcella Katz with Brookline High School students Yana Lazarova-Wong (L) and Charlotte Cahill

The S.H.O.P. Program has been a collaboration between the Brookline High School’s community service program and the Brookline Senior Center for many years. It is a win-win volunteer opportunity for students who grocery shop and the elder for whom they shop.

Even more important than the actual shopping, this program builds meaningful multigenerational relationships and life lessons. Marcella enjoys giving shopping advice while reviewing her shopping list with Yana and Charlotte. Marcella feels that it is important to share her life experience and show that seniors may need assistance, but they are also still quite capable. Students show that they are interested in more than just technology. They talk about what they are learning in school and Marcella tells them about her experience and what it was like to live through different historical times and situations.

Charlotte and Yana have shopped for Marcella for two years and consider her an important part of their life…and the feeling is mutual.

The Brookline High School has recruited students to shop for seniors. If you are a senior who would like to have a student shop for you, please call Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator at 617- 730-2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov.

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 LUNCHEON: Mark your calendars! This year’s Volunteer Luncheon will be held on April 11th at 12:30. The primary aim of our annual Volunteer Luncheon is to honor all of you who so generously give of your time and talents. In addition, each year we give each of you the opportunity to nominate a volunteer for the Volunteer of the Year award. It should be noted that staff/employees are not eligible for this award and that this is not an election where the person with the highest number of votes wins. Final selection is made from the eligible nominated volunteers by the Volunteer Award Committee. Note: You MUST RSVP by calling 617 730 2777 by Wednesday, April 4th to attend.

In addition, at the luncheon we also give an award to a Community Partner. Last year this award went to the Goddard House. You may also nominate an organization for this year’s award.



BARBARA KEAN: The 2017 Volunteer of the Year Awardwas presented to Barbara Kean. Ruthann outlined some of the many ways that Barbara has volunteered – the reception desk, the Alzheimer’s Walk and currently assisting vision impaired guests, in particular the new VIBRANT program participants, and most importantly her position as BSC ambassador. Barbara exemplifies kindness and concern in a quiet way. In addition to the certificate of award, Barbara was also given a beautiful plant and a Brookline historical afghan.

Ruthann then announced the Community Partner Award that was given to Goddard House this year. She thanked them for their collaboration in BCAN activities, the past 3 Parties of the Century and Brookline 300 as well as their provision of transportation for our Alzheimer’s walk team and for other events.


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 @ manager@clausura.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 volunteerinfo@generations.org 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 dwaxman@brooklinema.gov