National Volunteer Week is April 15 - 21st this year. The week was established in 1974 and is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges, and build stronger, more resilient communities.
Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.
Winter is coming and with it comes higher heating bills that may put a strain on everyone’s budget but especially for low-income seniors.
Throughout the year, H.O.M.E. welcomes volunteer groups and individuals for seasonal and ongoing projects as well as one-time volunteer opportunities.
Last month, Sonia, a member of our Partners in Independence club invited us to join her, her father, and a friend on a boat ride on Lake Michigan. Five Good Life residents and Konrad, our new World Horizons volunteer, took her up on her offer. This simple boat ride was, on so many levels, a perfect example of our mission and values.
New experiences at any age
We learned that two of our residents had never been on a boat before this outing! Can you guess from the photo above who they were? Hint, life jackets.
One of the first timers said later, ""It was very relaxing, fun and I enjoyed it."
Several people on the boat that day also commented on the singing led by Sonia's father. He's the guy in the photo above with his hands in the air. I'm not sure how often our residents sing together, but they did that day.
It's not unusual that we provide new experiences for our residents. The one example that came to my mind was a dinner provided to us free of charge at the Signature Room at the 95th in the Hancock Tower.
In 2012 a group of 28 residents and staff from H.O.M.E. enjoyed a wonderful dinner and beautiful views of downtown Chicago. We watched the sunset and then enjoyed the views even more as the lights came on all over the city.
The next day one of our residents told us the night was "fabulous." She raved about the elevator ride and how she never dreamed it could be so fast and non-threatening. It was a very memorable evening!
Providing new experiences for our residents is something we do often at H.O.M.E.
Connecting donors with residents
Most of the time our faithful donors don't have the opportunity to meet our residents but this kind of social interaction is always enjoyed by everyone who participates.
You don't have to own a boat to spend time with residents. Some of the other options are:
- Be a Guest Chef on the weekend at Nathalie Salmon House or Pat Crowley House and provide a meal for the 10 to 12 seniors who live in our Good Life Senior Residences.
- Organize a group to take part in our Seasonal Volunteer Program
- Put on a festive party for our seniors - a holiday party, barbeque, or luau are fun ideas
- Lead group activities like bingo or a movie night for seniors
Sharing good fortune with others
Sonia and her husband Jeff have been very generous in sharing their good fortune with H.O.M.E. They have been monthly donors for over four years, provided gifts for the Silent Auction at our Annual Celebration Dinners, and recently donated a nearly new washer and dryer.
Are there ways you would consider sharing your good fortune with H.O.M.E.?
One way to share is to become a donor. There are many ways to give and a gift to H.O.M.E. at any level goes a long way to helping low-income seniors in Chicago maintain their independence.
Here is what some of our donors have told us recently about how they feel when they shared their good fortune with H.O.M.E.
- "Gratitude that I can give"
- "Happy when I give"
- "I know that my donation, which is restricted by my retirement income is having the most possible impact"
- "That I have accomplished something"
- "Like I'm trying in some way to love my neighbor as myself"
But there are other ways for you to give back in a hands on way:
- As mentioned above, you could become a volunteer
- Invite us to talk to a group of your friends about H.O.M.E.
- Become a Table Host at our Annual Celebration Dinner and invite eight of your friends, colleagues or family members to join you to celebrate what H.O.M.E. does for low-income seniors
P.S. Thanks so much Sonia for your generosity and kindness. You have brought so much joy to our residents and clients!
"Plan your work and work your plan" - Vince Lombardi
Many of you reading this know that I am not a sports fan but I couldn’t pass over this quote from one of the sporting world’s most revered strategic thinkers, the former Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.
Last April H.O.M.E. restarted our Moving Program with funding provided by The Retirement Research Foundation and The Field Foundation. Their funds have allowed us to provide help for seniors moving in Chicago at a rate of about one move per week.
Topics: Moving Program
Last week, I took a ride on the Shopping Bus with eight residents of Maple Pointe apartments in Chicago. I arrived a few minutes early and discovered several people gathered in the community room waiting for the bus. I introduced myself and the first thing someone said was, “Thank you for providing the bus, it’s a lifeline for us!”
2015 has been a year of sports firsts for me. Earlier in the summer I attended my first Cubs game and this past weekend I observed my first Bank of America Chicago Marathon, well at least part of it. Please note: I said observed, not ran. I don’t think I could walk 26 miles let alone run that far. (Another little secret, and please don’t tell my friends and family who are baseball fans—I found watching the marathon much more exciting than the Cubs game.)
You probably remember that our nephew Andrew Lawton, from New York City, ran in the marathon and raised money for H.O.M.E.
Last week, Ethan and I went to our first ever Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
For those of you who don’t know, Ethan is the one-year old son of Kara and Brandon.They met when Kara was a Resident Assistant (RA) at Pat Crowley House (PCH) and Brandon was the cook at Nathalie Salmon House (NSH). Now they live in one of our family apartments at NSH. Brandon has since gone back to college and Kara is the administrative assistant and outreach liaison at NSH. Brandon has described Ethan as a "H.O.M.E. baby" and he is dearly loved by the residents at NSH.