We are fortunate to have Jennifer Whip as our new full-time administrative assistant. Jennifer has more than 20 years of project management and executive administration experience including 12 years with the American Cancer Society. She serves as our front desk receptionist, and, as this is a new position for the Senior Center, her background and experience will help us to build out this important role. Jennifer is also skilled in customer service and will work to make everyone feel welcome as they enter the Senior Center.
At the Senior Center’s thrift store—the Stop ‘N Shop— we are lucky to have so many fantastic volunteers. This month, we want you to meet Mary Jane Michaels, a retired OB/GYN Residency Coordinator originally from Connecticut.
When she retired, Mary Jane moved to West Seattle to be closer to her only son and his family. Her caring daughter-in-law made her move to Seattle so much easier by including her in many of the family’s activities. Mary Jane said that the Senior Center of West Seattle and a group called Newcomers really helped her connect with new friends.
Since 2014, Mary Jane has been a volunteer in the Stop ‘N Shop. She helps us tag hundreds of items every month during her twice per week shifts. Thank you, Mary Jane!
There are some volunteers here at the Senior Center that we barely get a chance to see. They are here early on Wednesday mornings, and then they’re off to bring Meals on Wheels food deliveries to seniors in our community. Many of our community members depend on these meals for their health and well-being, and we would not be able to provide them without volunteers like Dennis Wiese.
Dennis began volunteering with Meals on Wheels about three years ago. Not only does Dennis deliver meals every Wednesday, but he also comes in on Tuesdays to help us with inventory and on Thursdays to do paperwork and assist our Meals on Wheels coordinator.
Dennis was born in Wisconsin but moved around a lot because his dad was in the military. He ended up in Idaho where he studied Political Science at the University of Idaho and then went on to study Elementary Education at Central Washington University. His career path took him through a few turns from retail to real estate, and he ended up teaching elementary Special Education in Alaska for 15 years. He enjoyed his time in Alaska and has fond memories of fishing trips with his family.
After retirement in 2010, Dennis volunteered with Reading Partners, working with students to help them improve their reading skills. After so many years working with kids, he realized he wanted to do something to help the other end of the spectrum—seniors. That is how he came to volunteer at the Senior Center.
Dennis enjoys meeting and helping people and is a true “people person.” He says his time at the Senior Center “makes me more compassionate, I want to help!” What makes it all worth it, he says, is visiting with people and hearing the calls from people expressing gratitude for Meals on Wheels. Dennis sees that many seniors are lonely, and this critical service helps to alleviate some of that loneliness.
When Dennis is not sharing his time with the seniors in our community, he enjoys gardening, reading and traveling. Most of all he enjoys time with his wife of 54 years, his three children and four grandchildren ranging from 2-15 years in age. They are lucky to have such a kind and compassionate grandpa!