Written by Silvana Laferlita Gullo Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
On April 25 the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay celebrated 35 years of recognizing the contributions of its volunteers. Staff and seniors selected four volunteers for their efforts in making the Center a warm, welcoming and important resource for seniors in the surrounding communities.
As Silvana Gullo, Executive Director, explained, “Every volunteer is important to the well-being of the Center.” The seniors themselves help make up the 300+ daily volunteers performing such tasks such as preparing the monthly calendar mailed to members, which would be a very difficult undertaking if not for volunteers who fold, stuff and mail it to over 1,000 members! This is done with smiles from seniors and staff who enjoy working side by side. Other important volunteer tasks include driving seniors to medical appointments, visiting homebound seniors and nursing homes, organizing trips, managing the “Silver Threads” thrift shop, decorating for events, and greeting guests at reception.
This year’s Volunteers of the Year have demonstrated an ongoing commitment and dedication to the Center’s mission. Diane Aerne of Syosset, formerly an Oyster Bay resident and currently President of the Senior Executive Advisory Board, leads the “Happy Hookers,” a group she founded to crochet blankets and shawls for nursing home residents. Andrew Cintolo, a Wantagh resident, joined the Center in 2011 after months of searching the internet for a meaningful volunteer opportunity. Andrew found his niche assisting Chef Anthony two days a week consistently. Sheila Cisco, of Oyster Bay followed in her mother’s footsteps by joining the Center’s Friendly Visitors Committee bringing song and cheer to local nursing home residents. Sheila’s work doesn’t end there, she can be found in Angela’s Café selling home-baked goods or greeting guests at the reception area five days a week. Tom Colgrove of Locust Valley is a favorite amongst all the ladies at the Center. Tom helps out in the dining room delivering lunch trays with a smile and spends his afternoons twice a week helping the visually impaired with their Bingo cards!
The Recognition Luncheon was extra special this year with a visit by Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Joseph G. Pinto representing Supervisor Joseph Venditto and Victoria Meyerhoefer, Nassau County Director of Human Services, Office of the Aging, representing County Executive
Edward Mangano. Both delivered and read printed and framed Citations praising the volunteers for their commitment.
The center is proud to be successfully providing Oyster Bay and the surrounding community seniors with a comprehensive resource. Nutritious lunches, wellness and fitness programs, and entertaining activities are offered five days a week, 250 days a year! The center’s Daybreak Program presents caregivers a social adult day care option for their frail and memory impaired seniors. Additionally, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, “After Hour” programs make low-cost wellness and fitness classes available for individuals’ 50 and over. The center will continue expanding and enhancing programs with support from the community.
“Volunteers are essential to the well-being of the Center” stated Silvana Gullo, Executive Director. “Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the seniors by volunteering their time”. The Center is presently seeking drivers, Friendly Visitors, personal trainers, writers for public relations initiatives, evening and Saturday volunteers for our thrift shop, bakers for the café’, creative thinkers for our event planning and customized opportunities for all. For information on how you could volunteer your time call Silvana Gullo at (516) 922-1770.