Make a Difference Day takes place every fourth Saturday in October. This year, it will fall on Oct. 22. Make a Difference Day is one of the largest national day-of-service initiatives. The goal of the event is to bring together people from all walks of life to work to improve the lives of all Americans.
Volunteer work is an excellent way for seniors to get out and meet new people while making a difference in the community.
So how are residents of Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) communities like Deupree House and Marjorie P. Lee celebrating Make a Difference Day this year? By doing many of the same things they do to serve the Tristate all year long.
Teaching the next generation of Cincinnatians
That’s just what participants in ERS’ award-winning Council for Lifelong Engagement (CLLE) do. The program pairs seniors with Tristate teachers so that they might develop classroom lectures based around a core learning objective and the CLLE volunteer’s personal or career experiences.
For example, when a group of fifth graders at Pleasant Ridge’s Nativity School were learning about basic chemistry, Jack Fix — a Deupree House resident who had retired from working as a researcher on Proctor & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste line — came to talk with them about his experience working as a chemist in the 1950s. Fix told the students all about how his team figured out how fluoride could be added to toothpaste to improve consumers’ dental health.
Some CLLE volunteers speak to classes about non-career matters. When Nick Voss’ eighth graders were learning about the Second World War, two CLLE volunteers (Ann Marie Zinga, a former Army nurse, and David Campbell, a Navy pilot) came and spoke to his class about their wartime experiences. Other residents have spoken to classes about life during the Great Depression and how the economic downturn affected their families.
Still other CLLE volunteers conduct career fairs at schools, talking with students about their former careers and inspiring them to study hard, so that they might someday work in their own dream jobs.
Showing Tristate students how to become the toast of the town
Do you know the proper way to set the table? How many forks are used in a seven-course meal? Which side should a gentleman walk on when escorting a lady? Many young people today don’t learn such niceties at home.
That’s why a few ERS residents designed the Dining Etiquette luncheon, in which senior volunteers go to area schools to discuss conversation techniques, proper manners, social graces and table etiquette. This outreach is also part of CLLE.
Sometime later, the volunteer instructors host those same students at a lunch in the dining room at one of ERS’ Cincinnati retirement communities, allowing the children to demonstrate the social skills they learned.
Volunteering with Deupree Meals On Wheels
Many Cincinnatians who are aging in place, or who are recovering from illness or injury, can’t easily get out to shop for groceries. Some can’t cook for themselves.
Since 1989, Deupree House’s Meals On Wheels program has helped folks in those situations get the critical nutrition they need. The service provides hot meals — prepared every day in Deupree House’s kitchen — to seniors and other beneficiaries on Cincinnati’s east side.
Volunteer drivers don’t just deliver food; they serve as points of much-needed daily contact for otherwise isolated people. They also perform critical wellness checks.
For example, if a recipient doesn’t answer the door, is found to be injured or ill, or if something seems amiss, Meals On Wheels volunteers are trained to immediately alert authorities and the beneficiary’s emergency contacts.
Many of Deupree House’s independent living residents volunteer their time to help with Meals On Wheels, be it packing meals, serving as a delivery driver, or helping with pop-up tasks.
These are just a few of the many ways ERS residents are giving back.
Volunteer work is an excellent way for seniors to get out and meet new people while making a difference in the community. We encourage our senior residents to stay active by helping others in Cincinnati. Frankly, not much encouragement is needed — many of our seniors are already eager to make a difference.
And our residents aren’t the only ones doing their part. Twenty ERS staff members recently joined 30 employees from our development partner, Model Group, to make a difference at Affordable Living by ERS communities. The group of volunteers painted hallways, planted flower bulbs, and cleaned and tidied common areas at The Elberon, St. Paul Village and on our Wilmington campus.