Volunteers are the life source of the Senior Center.

“Westside Friends” – Senior Center Outreach Program

A heart made of words expressing thanks to volunteers of West Seattle Senior Center.

A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full.  But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.
– G. Thomas Gale



A big shout out to all of our volunteers who so graciously give us their time and talents every day – Thank You for all you do!  Our volunteers are the heart and backbone of this Center, who we depend on daily and appreciate dearly.  As we enter into spring, our need for new volunteers continues to grow, as it takes over 200 volunteers to run all of our programs, events, and activities.  Whether you can commit to ongoing weekly shifts or prefer something more flexible, we have many opportunities to choose from.  Some areas where we need help include the Café, Front Desk, Stop ‘N Shop, Outreach, Decorating, Kitchen, Janitorial, and Evening Events.  If you’d like to contribute to the Center with your time, please reach out today, we appreciate your interest & support!

Take the time to give back to your community!  Call today to learn about all of our volunteering opportunities!  Or check out our current volunteer positions at Volunteer Match.

Interested in volunteering? All volunteers will need to complete an Online Application.


Please download, complete, and return these documents to Sara Hanson-Andreu

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”– Winston Churchill

Sara Hanson-Andreu
Volunteer Coordinator
email | phone: (206) 932-4044 x8

Volunteer Match Page

Check out our ongoing volunteering opportunities.

*WESTSIDE FRIENDS – Visit & Assist Seniors in West Seattle Through Our Westside Friends Program

Would you like to support an elder in West Seattle and make a new friend?

The Senior Center’s Westside Friends (WSF) program matches caring volunteers with West Seattle elders in need of companionship. Volunteers may make a friendly visit, help with projects, take walks, or drive to the store or an appointment. Our WSF volunteers often create lasting relationships with their senior friends.

Hours are flexible.

Please complete our online application at https://www.tfaforms.com/4718422.

Or for more information contact Michele, Social Work Outreach, at michelef@soundgenerations.org or 206-928-1730.

We appreciate your interest in supporting your West Seattle community!

Featured Volunteer:

Volunteer extraordinaire    Mar/Apr  2019 – Terry Holm


Have you seen one of the “Greatest Movies You’ve Never Heard Of”?  If you haven’t, it’s time to do so.  Not only can you come and see a movie on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm, but you can learn about the movie from Terry Holm.  Terry will happily take some time to discuss his top movies with you.  He refers to himself as the Curator of all the best movies!  For almost 10 years, Terry has been showing movies at the Center from his long list of favorites.  Terry began coming here to join in the dance classes.  One day he heard the previous movie volunteer expressing some dissatisfaction with his job, and Terry jumped on the opportunity to take over a job that was near and dear to him.  Terry said, “He didn’t know as much about movies as I do…well, who does?”  That was it, in 2010 Terry took over the movies at the Center.  He generously bought all new equipment and room darkening drapes to enhance the movie viewing experience for all.

As a Seattle native, Terry was 7 years old when his family got their first TV.  He was only about 8 when he took the bus downtown by himself to see the triple feature for 25 cents!  Terry’s apprenticeship at Boeing was interrupted by being drafted in 1968.  When he returned, he went back to Boeing and worked as a precision toolmaker for 40 years.  While he was working full-time, he returned to University of Washington for Cinema Studies, learning about film critics.  If you are a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, talk to Terry…he wrote a 54-page thesis on Hitchcock!

If Terry is not here sharing his favorites with you, you might find him at home watching one of his 800 DVD’s!  He estimates he averages about 2 movies per day.  Terry also enjoys taking Turner Classic Movie cruises – he has already sailed on 6, and has more planned for the future.  We appreciate all the time, and movie knowledge Terry has brought to the Center over the past 10 years – and we look forward to many more…and FREE POPCORN!

Volunteer extraordinaire  Jan./Feb 2019 – Charlie Strong

When Charlie was young, he always got musical instruments for Christmas. One year his mom rented him a trumpet-she really wanted him to play the trumpet! Finally, when Charlie was about eight years old, he received a ukulele for Christmas. This was a good fit for Charlie. Music has always been a big part of his life.

Charlie has lived in West Seattle since 1945. He retired from Boeing after 32 years of doing art and drafting there. He spent several years playing guitar 3-4 nights a week in a band – they all dressed up as pirates and had a great time carousing around town!

In the summer of 1995, Charlie was asked to join The UKES, Unique Kind of Entertainers. This group was started by local musical legend, Ray Johnston, in 1995. It was a natural progression for Charlie to take over the UKES in 1999, when sadly, Ray passed away. Since then, the UKES have been playing together here at the Center for a Sing-a-Long on Mondays at 1pm.

Originally, the group averaged about eight to twelve players. Then, a couple years back the Seattle Times ran an article featuring the UKES and after that, the group doubled in size! About a month ago, they had 31 players – the largest group ever!

The group plays music out of the four song books that Charlie has compiled over the years. These books have been a group effort. They started with a group of songs from Ray’s library that was supplemented with his handwritten Dixieland arrangements. Charlie added words and chords to these arrangements. The books have been added to over the years by people from the group, The Seattle Ukulele Players Association, and The Edmonds Ukulele Group. Charlie says he has enough songs for two more books!

If you haven’t already met Charlie, stop in on a Monday at 1pm and you will find him, as well as some wonderful ukulele entertainment! When Charlie is not playing music, you can find him working on his beach cabin in Copalis and spending time with his seven grandchildren and his five great-grandchildren!

Charlie and The UKES play around town at community centers and retirement communities. Charlie says, “We play for food, like Jimmy Buffet said, I will play for Gumbo!” You can catch The UKES performing on January 17th at Brookdale on 35th in West Seattle.

Volunteer extraordinaire  Nov./Dec. 2018 –  Darnell Nelson

If you noticed a flash of bling down in the Stop ‘N Shop, it was probably Darnell’s cuff links!  He’s usually sporting a snazzy shirt with even snazzier cuff links!

Darnell Nelson has been working down in the shop for about a year and a half. He was born in Oklahoma and is the oldest of eight children. His family moved to Seattle in the mid 60’s.

For Darnell, academics came easy and he graduated with honors.  He studied law and spent his career working in the Treasury department of the federal government.

When Darnell is not working at the shop, you might find him tending to his roses. He also enjoys geology. He says, “The rocks, they keep me grounded.”

On the flip side, there’s nothing grounding about the fact that he misses the tornados in Oklahoma. Growing up, he liked to watch a good storm come in over the plains.

When talking about volunteering at the Stop ‘N Shop, Darnell says he has seen some interesting characters come in. One of his most memorable moments was witnessing his first shoplifter. She milled around the store for over an hour, when she finally just walked out with a bunch of clothes. Acting on instinct, Darnell chased her down the street and said, “Don’t you know the law?”

We are lucky to have him on our shop crew, and he feels lucky to be here. What he likes best about working here is the people. “You’re al so interesting” he says.

Be sure to say hello to Darnell when you are shopping at our lovely thrift store soon – make sure you have a few minutes…Darnell LOVES to talk!

Volunteer extraordinaire  September/October 2018 – Amy Eby

Interviewing Amy Eby, one of our amazing Westside Friends volunteers, makes me wish that she could adopt me to be her friend! Her contagious smile, boundless energy, and quick sense of humor kept me laughing the whole time I spent with her. When Amy first moved to Seattle in 2000, she noticed many ‘grandmas’ and ‘grandpas’ around town. She was missing her family back in Indiana and had the urge to invite them all home for dinner. This motivated her to come in to the Senior Center (with a few of her friends in tow) to start an “Adopt a Grandparent Club.” Although her intentions were good, the Club did not become as popular as she had hoped.

Then life took a welcome turn when she started a family. She then spent the next 15 years raising her son and daughter and shared her ‘extra’ time within her kids’ schools. When her kids got a bit older, and “Now that they are not talking to me,” she says with a laugh, “I have some extra time to make a difference. It feels good.”

Amy came back to the Center in 2015 to volunteer with our Outreach Program, now called Westside Friends. She met with our Social Worker, Holly McNeill, and was matched with a client who needed some companionship. Amy consistently goes above and beyond with her client; she includes her as part of her family! She plans surprise birthday lunches for her client and joins her at most of her appointments. Amy is a doctor and this makes her a valuable advocate for her client.

Amy also includes her client in family and holiday dinners. She told a funny story of how her client was refusing to come to Christmas dinner. She did not want to be without her raised toilet seat. Amy went out in snowy weather and found a raised seat at the last minute. She was not about to let her sweet friend miss out on Christmas dinner!

This way of going out of her way to help her Westside Friend and including her as family is why we chose to honor Amy as our featured volunteer! Thank you, Amy, for all you do! You truly are an inspiration!

Volunteer extraordinaire  July/August 2018 – Shandee Jones

If you miss her morning arrival, donning a different hat from the day before (she has more than 30 hats to choose from), you may have to peek back in the kitchen to find her! Shandee (Valerie) Jones has been helping to keep our kitchen going and our dishes spotless for over a year now. Shandee also works in the Café once a week where she shares her warm smile and dry sense of humor with our members and guests. Many years ago, one of her friends gave her the nickname “Shandee.” Her friend considered her to be extremely sensitive, like a chandelier, and the name stuck!

Shandee moved here from Chicago over 20 years ago. She happened to visit the area during a sunny weekend. “I chose to move here before I knew about the grey,” she said.

Shandee comes from a big family with five sisters, as well as many nieces and nephews. Following her mother’s lead, she received a degree in Social Work from Northern Illinois University. She decided, however, to take a different route and spent more than 16 years working as a Lab Tech for Amgen. When she was laid off, she decided to end her relationship with corporate America, which was much to our advantage!

When Shandee is not working, she enjoys music, making jewelry, bowling, dancing, and playing games.  Studying her genealogy and learning about her family roots is also a passion for her. I asked her what she liked about working in the kitchen, and she said, “It’s like meditating, I can think about anything that comes to my mind while I’m doing dishes.” We are so grateful to have Shandee here!  We look forward to seeing her happy face in the morning and to see what hat she has chosen for the day…

Volunteer extraordinaire  May/June 2018 – Dale Gideon


If you’ve visited our Café lately, you may have had the pleasure of meeting Dale. After Dale applied to volunteer last Fall, he was traveling often with his job doing training and development for teachers in Texas. It took a while to reach him and get him behind our counter, but he was worth the wait!

Dale grew up in Texas with two older sisters. Maybe it was these sisters teaching him the way in life that led him to be a teacher to people of all ages. Dale’s teaching has ranged from pre-kindergarten up to junior college, with his favorite being high school seniors. He taught English Language Arts, Social Studies, Psychology, and Sociology over the years. One of his first volunteer experiences took him on an adventure to Estonia where he was a volunteer English Teacher. Being an adventurous young man in his mid-20’s, Dale didn’t even know who was meeting him at the airport when he arrived halfway across the globe…luckily someone showed up!

Dale left Texas in 2016 when his partner landed a job at Amazon. When he’s not working in the Café or selling cocktails at Rainbow Bingo, he enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking. Dale works hard, makes a mean sandwich, and is always willing to help out when we’re in a pinch! Dale is on a journey to find his next career path, and we selfishly hope that is a long journey! So be sure to stop by and enjoy his kindness, sandwiches, and his sense of humor while you still have the chance!

The Senior Center of West Seattle is a marvelous place to spend your time. Join our fantastic team of amazing volunteers and give back to your community!