Written by Denise Nash Thursday, 11 June 2009 15:50
Rumors are spreading around Plainview that Harriet Blatt is retiring from her volunteer position. She wants to set the record straight – this is not true.
Blatt was recently honored for her volunteer work with the Plainview-Old Bethpage Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (POB NNORC), a non-sectarian program of the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center, offering assistance to seniors (60+ years old) in Plainview and Old Bethpage in their homes. The event was dubbed “I’m Just Wild About Harriet,” and was not a retirement party.
Blatt saw a letter at her synagogue asking for volunteers and decided to get involved with NORC and has not looked back. She is now the volunteer coordinator and loves her position.
Blatt, who has lived in Plainview for over 30 years, helps match her trained volunteers with local seniors who need help getting to medical appointments, do grocery shopping and local errands and set people up with phone buddies to call and make sure they are all right.
The mission of the organization is to enable seniors in the Plainview and Old Bethpage communities to remain in the house as long as possible. “We provide services for them that they can’t do themselves,” she said. “I don’t know how they would survive without us. A lot of them don’t have family or children that live locally.”
Clients must be over 60 and live in Plainview or Old Bethpage. Currently there are over 400 clients and 40 volunteers and those volunteers helped clients over 1,400 times over the course of a year.
“This position is very gratifying,” said Blatt. “You feel you are doing something helpful and something worthwhile. You get to know the people and you develop a relationship with the clients.”
Mark Meltzer, project director for Plainview/Old Bethpage Neighborhood NORCs, arranged the dinner to honor Blatt. “She is the backbone and inspiration for our organization,” he said, “Hundreds of seniors in the Plainview/Old Bethpage area have been touched by Harriet’s commitment and compassion.”
Blatt said that she was deeply honored. “It was fabulous and the staff did a great job,” she said.
Family, friends and staff members were in attendance to recognize all that Blatt does for the community.
“It was so nice to be thanked. I was touched,” she said.
For more information about the program, call the Mid Island Y JCC at 822-3535 or visit www.myijcc.org.