Volunteer/ REAP

VOLUNTEERING: One Person CAN Make A Difference

JULY 2020

In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and comply with the mandates of the Federal, State and local government agencies, the Brookline Senior Center (BSC) has been closed. Since it is uncertain as to when we will be able to safely begin hosting any of our special or ongoing programs at 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 will be glitches, but we hope that you will continue to give the online programming options a try.

We realize that there are lots of questions regarding our reopening and we appreciate your patience during this uncertain time. Please feel free to leave your questions on our voicemail or to submit your questions to info@brooklineseniorcenter.org. Many of you may have the same questions so we hope to address some of them in future editions of the newsletter.

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 reopen the Senior Center.

However, you may still contact me 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.

As of July 1st our volunteer priority needs are:

Town of Brookline – send an email to COVIDVolunteer@BrooklineMA.gov to be contacted for various volunteer jobs. The online form to sign up to volunteer is:  https://www.brooklinema.gov/covidvolunteer

Springwell Home Delivery Meals on Wheels’ Drivers

At this time, Springwell is seeking volunteers who are willing to provide home delivery of meals.* Springwell is an essential part of the social safety net for thousands of older adults each year, and we are continuing to provide the services that are helping them stay safe and in their homes during this challenging time.

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 to start the process; or go online and apply to volunteer at https://springwell.com/volunteer/Health Services COVID-19 Volunteer Form | Mass.gov

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.

FOOD COMMODITYOn June 17 we conducted our modified Food Commodity program outside the Senior Center due to the COVID-19 virus. Participants in June (and will again on July 15th) picked up their food at specified appointment times wearing masks and maintaining strict social distancing. Any low income senior over 60 wishing to become a participant of the program should call Patricia @ 617 730 2743 or email her at pburns@brooklinema.gov.

SHOUT OUT TO SHOP!! Two Brookline High School (BHS) graduating seniors who were part of the SHOP program received scholarships from the Bay State Federal Charitable Foundation in honor of the past CEO, John Murphy. The scholarships were awarded to Gigi Walsh and Anita Lemeshuk for their involvement in the SHOP program.

The SHOP program matches BHS students with Brookline seniors in a win-win situation, providing much needed help to seniors who are unable to grocery shop for themselves, while helping students fulfill their community service requirement. Mr. Murphy was a proponent of the SHOP program for many years. (The SHOP program is currently on hold due to COVID-19)

Additionally, the Brookline Senior Center would like to thank Sidonie Brown, another BHS graduating senior, for her exceptional work as the Student SHOP Coordinator for the past two years. Sidonie was always available to answer a question, assign students for a new senior in need and report any out of the ordinary concern about a senior. These will be some very hard shoes to fill for the incoming Student Coordinator!

While congratulating these three SHOPpers, we would also like to give a huge thanks to all of the students who have helped our seniors with their grocery needs. You have made a difference in the lives and health of many by making sure that they had nutritious food in their homes.

CONGRATULATIONS to all graduating SHOPpers and THANKS to all BHS SHOP participants!! 


Mutual Aid Brookline has launched a virtual companionship project, which pairs high schoolers with Brookline seniors experiencing isolation and loneliness during this difficult time.   After a brief survey, seniors will be paired with students according to mutual interests. Volunteers will then have conversations with seniors over the phone or using video chats whichever is most comfortable for the senior. If you are interested, the hotline number is 617-651-1468.


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 28Ruthann 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.


SHINE: Open Enrollment for Medicare supplemental insurance has ended! However, 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.

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 programs and how to use them with access technology. 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, and SHELF STABLE milk or juice.


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