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

JULY 2018

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.

– – All volunteer content written by Patricia Burns

JULY SPOTLIGHTED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: This month’s spotlighted opportunities include: Lunch Kitchen Assistance – Backup from 11- 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;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 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.

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 seniors who are in the Brookline High School Chess Club will be at the Senior Center each Friday from 3-5 – yes even in the summer. 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

Lincoln School 8th Grade Students @ BSC

Lincoln School 2018 8th Grade Graduating Studentscame to the Brookline Senior Center on June 14th for a Community Service day of board and card games and engaging with seniors. Their curiosity, eagerness to share what they are involved in at school and their interest in learning about the seniors with whom they spoke was wonderful. In addition to the above activities some students also worked with the senior flower arrangers and others watched the Chinese knitting and crocheting group. Some students also brought food donations. Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator shared the recent Food Security Survey results to confirm how important food donations and food supplement programs are even in a town like Brookline. Over lunch, the students eagerly shared interesting stories about the seniors that they had interviewed – growing up in the Soviet Union, relocating in Brookline for the last year after losing everything in the hurricane in Puerto Rico, memories of WW II and being in the Israeli Army. Some students got to practice their Spanish and Japanese as well.

The BSC seniors definitely appreciated the students and their 2 teachers and the guidance counselor and the joy and energy that they brought to the BSC. We hope that they will continue volunteering when they attend the high school next year. Congratulations to all!

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.

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

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 Tax Abatement Program has a few slots to fill in the coming 2019 fiscal year. Potential participants must be over 60 years of age and property owners in Brookline. They must meet low income guidelines (below $56,800 on 2017 income tax return). Participants will be expected to work for 125 hours between July 1, 2018 and March 15th, 2019 in a Brookline Town Department in order to receive the abatement on their real estate taxes. While we try our best to find placements in town departments, we cannot guarantee that a placement will be available. Please call Deidre Waxman, LICSW with questions or to set up an interview – 617 730 2767