Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Oyster Bay is a great community where everyone is gregarious and friendly. It’s where people are brought together to form a sense of unity and close relationships. There is a peaceful aura in the neighborhood that compels you to take part, and that is obvious at the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay.
As part of my Service Learning Course at S.U.N.Y. Old Westbury I volunteer my time at the center in Oyster Bay. The course offers a work experience while providing much needed community service to local organizations. Additionally, this course encourages students to be active in their communities and by sharing our experiences with others students we build awareness for the organizations we support.
Witnessing the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay firsthand is an absolutely mesmerizing experience. The zeal and spirit in the center’s elderly members is so magnanimous and genuine that it can warm the heart of a stone. One of the copious advantages of the center is that membership is free of charge. The reason being that the employees there actually do care. It is not a myth folks - there are still wholehearted people in existence today, albeit scarce.
I am a sophomore in the Honors College program. I signed up for the course because I believe giving back to the community is a civic duty we all should fulfill. I chose to volunteer at the center because I miss spending time with my grandparents who live in Arizona. Helping the seniors makes me feel closer to my grandparents. I never expected a Senior Center to be such an active and fun filled place. My experience here has truly been life enriching. This experience has broadened my awareness of current social issues and how the elderly are affected in today’s society. It is sad to see how little thought is given to the challenges facing our elders.
Most days, I spend my time at the center’s Day Break program. The Day Break is a social model day care program where frail and memory impaired seniors have the opportunity to socialize, and exercise their brains and bodies. Bingo, cards and dice games are often played along with reward prizes and other easily adaptable programs to ensure active involvement. Also, this allows caregivers to find much needed respite. The Day Break program offers a comfortable, safe, and loving environment with flexible hours and affordable prices. There is always something exciting going on! Traditional holiday themed activities and lunches are served to the seniors. In October there were pumpkin flavored treats, autumn themed games and even a Halloween party including a children’s costume parade.
Everyone is welcome to visit the Center. This is a great place to volunteer and since involvement in community service is so important on a student’s resume more students should consider their local senior centers. Volunteer responsibilities could include supporting centers’ activities: helping the staff with fundraising events, social services department work, retail work at the center’s thrift shop, public relations and marketing initiatives, and much more. Each little bit of support makes a huge difference. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
The Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay has provided senior citizens from Bayville, Brookville, East Norwich, Lattingtown, Locust Valley, Muttontown, Oyster Bay, and Oyster Bay Cove with comprehensive social services, nutritious lunches, transportation, wellness and fitness classes and entertaining activities five days a week, 250 days a year for over 30 years. The Adult Day Care program addresses the needs of the frail and memory impaired. Additionally, evening fitness and social activities are offered for residents 45 and over. The center’s board and staff strive to continue expanding its services with support from the community.