April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

We want to say a huge thank you to our amazing volunteers. Despite the pandemic, more than 200 people dedicated their time to the Senior Center last year to ensure our essential programs continued.

Our volunteers delivered meals to seniors in their homes, provided connection and companionship through our Westside Friends program and helped keep the Stop ‘N Shop thrift store open and thriving to support our operations.

We recently welcomed back our front desk volunteer receptionists. The Senior Center staff team is so happy to have these friendly faces back in the building. Our volunteer receptionists can help you register for programs, renew your membership or answer questions about our mix of in-person and virtual classes and activities.

We anticipate a busy spring and summer as we add back more in-person programs and expand our technology offerings. Our volunteers will continue to be an important part of everything we do.

Program Highlight: Westside Friends

    

We talked with Michele Fawcett-Long, coordinator for the Westside Friends program at the Senior Center, about how the Senior Center is keeping people connected.

How does the Westside Friends program support seniors?
Sometimes people become more isolated in their senior years or when they live with a disability. They may lose friends and family members, have chronic medical issues or be experiencing increasing difficulties getting out of their homes. The Senior Center’s Westside Friends program matches volunteers with seniors or people with disabilities for companionship, help with projects and assistance with tasks like grocery shopping and running errands. Many of our volunteers and seniors have created deep connections that are meaningful and fun.

Who are your volunteers and participants and how many people were engaged in the program in 2020?
Our volunteers and participants are all West Seattle neighbors. Last year 35 volunteers served 29 community members to make this program possible.

How have you adapted the program during the pandemic?
Our volunteers still stay in close touch with their senior friends, but now with careful attention to social distancing. Our pairs will talk on the phone or text each other. Or they may visit or take walks outdoors with masks on. Volunteers are also running errands to places like the grocery and drug store and dropping by books for their friends to read.

To find out more about this program, contact Michele at michelef@soundgenerations.org.

Pictured above are some of our Westside Friends volunteers: (left to right) Heather Gilroy, Kristin Escobar, Scott Schill and Megan Willmann.