Volunteer/ REAP

VOLUNTEERING: One Person CAN Make A Difference

 NOVEMBER 2020

In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) continues to comply with the mandates of Federal, State and local government agencies. Since it is uncertain as to when we will be able to safely expand hosting our special or ongoing programs in the Center, we have been working to develop a list of online programming options with some of our regular group facilitators, as well as with some of your favorite performers and presenters. Please remember that these “virtual” programs are new to everyone so there may be glitches, but we hope that you will continue to give the online programming options a try. In addition, 

we have been able to restart a modified lunch program through Springwell. This is a Grab n Go lunch collected by participants outside the Senior Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

We realize that there are lots of questions regarding our reopening/expanding in house programs and we appreciate your patience during this uncertain time.  Please feel free to leave your questions on our voicemail 617 730 2770 or 617 730 2777 or to submit your questions to info@brooklineseniorcenter.org. 

We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and well in the days ahead and we look forward to celebrating with you all when we are able to safely and fully reopen the Senior Center.

Thank you for your patience as we balance remote and in-office work schedules. You may still contact me, Patricia Burns by phone (617 730 2743) or by e-mail pburns@brooklinema.gov. I check my mail and voicemail several times each workday and will reply as soon as possible. For non-volunteer issues please call the main BSC numbers – 617 730 2770 or 617 730 2777 and leave a message.

VOLUNTEER PRIORITY NEEDS:

    Springwell Home Delivery Meals on Wheels’ Drivers

Springwell is an essential part of the social safety net for thousands of older adults each year, and they are continuing to provide the services that are helping older adults stay safe and in their homes during this challenging time.

At this time, Springwell is seeking volunteers who are willing to provide home delivery of meals. Springwell especially needs volunteers who can work in the towns of Belmont, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Waltham. If you: are interested in receiving training and support to help us reach vulnerable seniors with critical in-home meals; have a reliable car, a current driver’s license, and a clean driving record; are available between 10:00 am -1:00 pm; are able to provide these services, consistent with guidance we receive from the CDC, WHO and other governmental agencies, recognizing you may come into contact with high-risk members of our community and others; and are successfully able to meet the regulatory pre-requisites for the position, please contact us!

Email volunteer@springwell.com or go online and apply to volunteer at https://springwell.com/volunteer/

    Town of Brookline – To be contacted for various volunteer jobs, please email  COVIDVolunteer@BrooklineMA.gov

FOOD COMMODITY: We continue to conduct our modified Food Commodity program outside the Senior Center due to COVID-19. Participants pick up their food at specified appointment times wearing masks and maintaining strict social distancing.  The November distribution (November 18th)  will be conducted in the same way.

Please Note: Each August, ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST COMPLETE RECERTIFICATION IN ORDER TO

CONTINUE RECEIVING FOOD. IF YOU DID NOT ANSWER OR RETURN OUR PHONE CALL, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RECEIVE YOUR FOOD IN NOVEMBER OR BEYOND UNLESS YOU CALL ME AND REAPPLY 617 730 2743!

Any low income senior over 60 wishing to participate in the program to receive 35 pounds of shelf stable food on the 3rd Wednesday of each month should call Patricia @ 617 730 2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov.

ALZHEIMER’S WALK – While the official walk date was September 27th, 2020, donations will be gladly accepted through the end of the year.  Due to the COVID-19 virus and because our health and safety are top priorities, this year’s Alzheimer’s walk was not a large in-person gathering. It was A DIFERENT WALK FOR THE SAME REASONS! This year the walk was EVERYWHERE – on every sidewalk or in every park! People were encouraged to walk with a family member or friend in their neighborhood practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.

While the Senior Center did not sponsor our usual walk team, we continue to be no less committed to finding a cure for this terrible disease that affects so many of our seniors. We encourage you to donate as you can to the Greater Boston Alzheimer’s Association chapter for a world without Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

Donate to:

Alzheimer's Association 

309 Waverley Oaks Road

Waltham, MA  02452

            OR 

Online donations to http://act.alz.org/GreaterBoston

VIRTUAL CHESS: Attention Chess Lovers! While we cannot get together to play in person, we have an opportunity for chess lovers to play virtual games on their computers or IPADS. Please let Patricia, the Volunteer Coordinator know if you are interested, pburns@brooklinema.gov or leave a voicemail on 617 730 2743.

TECH BUDDY PROGRAM: As the COVID crisis continues, elders who live alone are becoming more isolated, which leads to increased depression and other serious medical problems.  Many can’t or won’t leave their houses and desperately need internet access to stay connected.  However, without the shared internet access resources they relied on in the past, such as computers in libraries and community rooms (now closed due to COVID-19), many seniors have lost the little access they had to technology.

We are planning to pilot a Tech Buddy program.  We would purchase 20+ tablets to distribute to willing, low-income participants.  The tablets will be pre-populated with apps we believe seniors will need, such as a Food Pantry app, Zoom, transportation apps, and so on. Each participant will be matched with a tech coach volunteer who will help educate them on how to use the device and help them troubleshoot when they have issues. We will also create easy to follow instructions for them to reference.

We’re reaching out to our volunteers to serve as Tech Coaches. High School and College students are encouraged to participate.  The goal is to enable elders to reach the outside world in a safe way during this pandemic.

We are hoping to start the Tech Buddies Pilot program later this Fall and are looking for volunteers who are tech savvy and have a lot of patience.

Responsibilities: 1- Prepare tablet with appropriate apps - Brookline Food Pantry, Zoom or other video conference apps, transportation apps, telehealth apps ....; 2- Teach the Buddy the basics on how to use the tablets- power button, charging, updates, getting on the wifi etc...; 3- Teach and troubleshoot problems over the phone; 4- Help develop simple, step-by-step reference sheets; 5- Be patient and make a connection with an elder

Requirements: 1- Be 16+ years old - with parental consent; 2- Be or become a MRC volunteer if you are 18+ -you will need to set up an account in MA Responds; 3- Knowledge of tablets (exact type TBD); 4- Able to communicate clearly; 5- PATIENCE

If you are interested in this exciting pilot program, please enter your information on https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R9CRRCX

BROOKLINE SENIOR CENTER VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS:

Photo and blurb in the Brookline TAB in November about Brookline High School senior and SHOP Student Coordinator Sidonie Brown receiving award and scholarship from the MIT Age Lab for her inter-generational work with the SHOP program. Visit from Global Service Learning Programme of Northern Ireland, September,

2019. We hope to host their high school students in the NI Education Authority Youth Services: Boston Study Visit next summer for a day of cultural exchange. Interview from Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio regarding how to set up a SHOP program; Article TAB July 2019 re: Lincoln School Graduating 8th Graders at the Brookline Senior Center; Article re: 2019 John & Molly Dolan Awards with photo of Brookline Bank executives receiving the Community Partner Award was featured on the 1st & 4th pages of the Brookline TAB on April 25th 2019.  The Brookline Senior Center Alzheimer’s Walk Team photo and blurb were featured on the Your News page of the Brookline TAB on September 27.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 at https://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 the Commonwealth 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 entitled Volunteering: A Work of Heart at the Brookline Senior Center. The article can be found on line at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.

COLLABORATIVE VOLUNTEER EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES:

SHINE: Open Enrollment for Medicare supplemental insurance will be open until December 7! All Senior Center SHINE appointments are full. Your best resource now is to call Medicare directly (844 841 5538) for help determining what supplemental plan is best for you.

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 seniors new to Medicare understand complex insurance options. SHINE volunteer counselors educate and provide unbiased help to choose an insurance program best for the individual. Premiums, deductibles, co-pays and drugs covered by your 2020 plan CAN change significantly. Please review any documents mailed to you and/or go online to compare the 2021 parameters versus your 2020 ones before you lock into a plan.

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.

VIBRANT: MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

ZOOM CLASSES: The VIBRANT program is offering virtual group classes and individual technology training to introduce various access technology programs and how to use them. Topics include an introduction to Zoom meetings, helpful reading applications, navigating ridesharing services, and much more! To get more information or request an appointment call Rachel Castle at 617-608-4150 or email rcastle@mabcommunity.org

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.

BROOKLINE’S EMERGENCY FOOD BANK: The Brookline Food Pantry continues to be in need of donations of canned tuna, canned chicken, rice, cereal, lentils, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, canned vegetables, diced tomatoes, SHELF STABLE milk or juice and toiletries.


REAP 

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