Volunteering at the Senior Center

“One person CAN make a difference”

February 2023 – Valued Volunteer

Mitchell Drucker

Three years ago, after a long career in health-related services, Brookline resident Mitchell Drucker decided to retire from the working world. Soon Mitchell found that he needed to find ways to keep busy in retirement. “Being retired can be boring, so I tried to find a part-time job,” said Mitchell. After looking for the right opportunity with no great success and approaching 70, he decided a year ago to visit the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) to inquire about volunteer options.

Valerie Graf, the Center’s Volunteer Coordinator showed Mitchell around. They discussed how he had a Master’s degree in psychology and had worked at a local behavioral health insurance company. While on the tour, the colorful rainbow flag hanging from the Center’s front window caught his eye and prompted him to ask if there was any programming for LGBTQ+ seniors. Valerie told him that there had been, but due to COVID-19, those programs, like many others, had been on hiatus.

Now a year later Mitchell has become one of BSC’s Valued Volunteers and is known for his friendly demeanor. Last June Mitchell launched a weekly discussion group for LGBTQ+ seniors. “People enjoyed the free-ranging discussion,” he said of the program, which now meets the third Wednesday of each month. Three days a week Mitchell also makes calls to people using the Council on Aging’s medical transportation services to remind them of their appointments. He estimates he makes about 10 to 15 calls a day.

When not volunteering, this valued and appreciated volunteer can be found in the BSC Fitness Center.

Volunteer Coordinator

Please contact Valerie Graf at 617-730-2743 or if you would like to learn more about volunteering at the Senior Center. While we appreciate all volunteers applying, please be aware that currently there are limited opportunities for certain tasks.

S.H.O.P (Students Helping Older People)

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.

In addition to getting the groceries for the senior, another benefit 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 that their students are like family.

For more information on the SHOP program, please contact Valerie Graf at 617-730-2743 or at

Retirement Engagement Alternatives Program (REAP)

The REAP program is designed for Brookline residents aged 60 and older who wish to remain engaged and active in the community while in retirement or partial retirement. Limited additional program opportunities may also be available for individuals aged 55-60. The goal of this program is to enhance the retirement experience by connecting participants with either part-time paid or volunteer work in the community or at the Brookline Senior Center (BSC).

To enroll or for more information, call 617-730-2767 or email Sarah Aguirre at

Other services

Medical Equipment


Food Security

Health & Wellness

Tech Assistance

Social Services

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The Brookline Senior Center Honors its Volunteers at 2022 Appreciation Event

With a vocalist and pianist as the opening act, the 2022 Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Senior Center on April 13 began on a celebratory note as Council on Aging members and staff gathered to honor Council on Aging volunteers for their contributions during the past two years.

Yolanda Rodriguez, COA chair, led off the tributes, extending gratitude on behalf of the council and Senior Center for the work done by the volunteers. Ruthann Dobek, the center’s director, asked for a moment of silence to remember “those dedicated and caring volunteers” who have passed away and those lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruthann introduced the center’s new volunteer coordinator, Valerie Graf, who expressed an eagerness to work with current volunteers at the center and recruit new ones and called on those interested in volunteering or expanding their volunteer hours to contact her at or 617-730-2743.

The following nominees for Volunteer of the Year Awards and their contributions were announced by Ruthann:

Marcia Goldstein – “Marcia tirelessly came in throughout the pandemic [to assist with] the Grab-and-Go lunch.”

Mimi O’Connor – “Mimi provided the Food Commodity Program throughout the pandemic.”

John Seay – “We were one of the first town buildings to offer hybrid and Zoom meetings, thanks to donated equipment and John’s expertise in getting us set up.”

Michael Weston – “Michael never missed a day providing Grab-and-Go lunch and getting the newsletter out during the pandemic.”

In the category of special awards, Emily Rindermann, a Johnson & Wales doctoral capstone student intern, was honored with a student award for having done “everything from transportation to running a program, providing support for our Tech Buddies program, helping with income tax appointments, and helping with lunch. There isn’t one program this whole semester that she didn’t involve herself in and dedicate herself to.”

In the category of community service awards, the following AARP tax program volunteers were recognized: George Chin (coordinator), Doug BehrJade CarrelChris DippelCarol FranklinTanya GurianConstantine HanzisKathy HarrisRose MandelbaumHernan MosqueraEd PaloEdye Rulin, and Monica Wheeler.

The John & Molly Dolan Volunteer of the Year Award went to George Chin, of whom Ruthann said: “The first program in 2020 that the Senior Center brought back, besides the Grab-and-Go lunch during the pandemic, was the AARP Income Tax program. We had to do special contactless appointments that year [2020], and George and his team prevailed. Year 2 [2021] was also contactless, making it safe for the volunteers and everyone coming into the building; over 200 appointments were completed, with COVID protocol, that year. Over 200 appointments have been held this year with 12 volunteers.”

Rounding out the event, John VanScoyoc, the Brookline Select Board’s representative to the COA, commended Yolanda and Dobek for their efforts and acknowledged the council’s early pivot to remote and, later, hybrid meetings, programs, and events during the pandemic. He praised volunteers, COA members, and Senior Center patrons for “their service, commitment, and vivacity.”