May 2015

Senior companions are better together

Dorothy (right) has happily spent more than 1,400 volunteer hours with Sally.

For older adults who want to remain engaged in their community, Impact Broward offers many meaningful service opportunities.

The Jim Moran Foundation supports the organization's Senior Companion Program which engages and trains active seniors to help frail, elderly adults remain independent and age with dignity in their own homes. During weekly visits, volunteers socialize with their clients and assist them with activities such as preparing meals, going for walks, playing games or reading the newspaper. The relationships benefit clients and volunteers by preventing isolation and improving their overall mental health and well-being.

Dorothy has been a senior companion to Sally since 2010. Over the years, they have developed a close bond, and both women look forward to their visits. Since Sally is visually impaired, Dorothy also provides a second set of eyes for her while they are together.

Commenting on her appreciation for Dorothy, Sally said, "She is pleasant, always has a smile on her face...and never says no when you ask her for help."

Impact Broward's 140 senior companions currently brighten the lives of 480 elderly clients.

Learn more about Impact Broward's many programs and services.

Outreach program extends helping hand to those in crisis

Caridad Center and its Social Services Program provides low-income individuals and families in Palm Beach County with food, basic items and other emergency assistance. An older woman, who has always worked hard for her limited income, recently found herself in crisis. Soon after losing her job as a cook, she was suddenly evicted by the person with whom she was living. Without money, personal belongings or any nearby relatives, she became homeless for the first time in her life. From seeking shelter in a train station to sleeping in a park, she was fearful and desperate for help. She approached the local homeless shelter and was referred to Caridad Center for emergency assistance. Caridad's social services director immediately met with her and provided a temporary motel room, bus passes and grocery store gift cards.

She is stable once again and expressed her appreciation in a note: "I don't know how to say thank you for all you did for me...You are kind, patient, and compassionate... and took the time to listen to me when I had no one else to turn to. Because of your generosity, I had a place to sleep. You made it possible for me to buy food with the Publix gift cards. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me through that nightmare. I have a new job, cooking for a family, and I have a new place to live."

Caridad Center also provides comprehensive health, dental and vision services, mental health counseling, after-school tutoring, college scholarships, school supplies and more to uninsured, poor families.

Connect with Caridad Center through its website.

Pathways to independence for disabled clients

Krista, pictured above, said that she enjoys doing different things through BASCA's program, such as pulling weeds in the garden and cutting wood pieces at the workshop.

BASCA, Inc., a nonprofit in Duval County, helps youth and adults with special needs improve their living, working, educational, social and recreational opportunities.
With grant support from The Jim Moran Foundation, BASCA's Building Abilities to Grow program trains and places 40 individuals each year in gainful employment to reduce dependency on their families and help them reach their greatest potential.

At BASCA, training and job placement focuses on three areas: woodworking, gardening and warehouse/retail operations. In its Custom Creations shop, participants manufacture wood birdhouses, planter boxes, and other products with safety-adapted tools; the gardening and greenhouse program teaches organic landscaping; and through its warehouse/retail training program, participants learn how to stock shelves, operate computers, and perform clerical and other tasks.

Alecia proudly wears her Carrabba's uniform.

BASCA has relationships with many area businesses that provide job opportunities to its clients. Alecia began folding silverware two days a week at Carrabba's Italian Grill. The restaurant recently increased her schedule up to four days a week, and she now also helps measure and portion the pastas and cheeses.

"I love working with the Carrabba's staff, and I hope to keep advancing!" Alecia said.

For more information or to shop for Custom Creations items, visit BASCA's website.