Era Living Residents Volunteer for Good
Era Living residents are active volunteers. Residents at each of the eight, Seattle-area Era Living communities have formed partnerships with local charities. The result of their volunteer work is invaluable. The community at large benefits, and residents often speak of their volunteer experiences with big smiles.
National Volunteers Week
This past week was National Volunteers Week. And, an important reminder to honor those who serve others.
Several Era Living communities demonstrated appreciation with gestures of gratitude for residents who volunteer.
Additionally, each Era Living community holds annual rallies as part of the Thrive – mind, body, and spirit program. During Thrive rallies, residents can connect with neighborhood organizations that need volunteers. The matches made are mutually beneficial.
Era Living Residents Volunteer in the Community
Eight months ago, a small group of residents began volunteering once each week at the Pike Place Food Bank. Today, the volunteer group has doubled in size, and is volunteering two days per week.
In 2009, a group of residents decided to grow organic crops at the nearby P-patch. And, donate those crops to the Lake City Community Food Bank. The Aljoya P-patch group has expanded to four P-patch plots. Every year, the gardeners donate several hundred pounds of vegetables, and fruit to folks in need.
Aljoya residents also support Thornton Creek Restoration. Furthermore, they serve as docents, and provide educational tours, talks, and take-home information to their north Seattle neighbors.
Summer can be hard for children in low income households. And, these kids often depend on schools for breakfast and lunch. The staff at Ida Culver House Broadview organizes food, and school supplies drives each summer in partnership with the Seattle Public Schools. Resident volunteers organize, and stuff backpacks before school begins.
Ida Culver Ravenna residents partner with three near-by groups. Residents help Westside Baby by knitting blankets, and sorting through donated clothing. Young neighbors from St. Bridget’s Assumption school visit often help with reading, and school projects. Residents also volunteer at the University District Food Bank.
An all-star group of knitters, who call themselves the Knit Wits, began making blankets, shawls, hats and scarves for homeless women and children a decade ago. Their circle has grown. Today, they knit 500 items per year. The knitted items are given to homeless people who seek food, and shelter at Mary’s Place, Hopelink, LifeWire, The Sophia Way, and Aurora Commons. Also, residents volunteer with Bellevue Public Schools, through Master Gardeners, and with Seattle Humane Society.
Caring for neighbors makes us good neighbors. When residents at The Lakeshore learned the near-by fire station lacked supplies they decided to help out. Every month, residents at The Lakeshore produce a fundraising event for King County Fire and Rescue. And, they have funded everything from aid car supplies to a lifesaving raft.
Poverty is not the first word that comes to mind when most of us think of the Eastside. Yet, the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank serves thousands of families, children, and older adults. Volunteers from University House Issaquah help by organizing and packing food, serving meals, and fundraising to support this valuable community resource. Similarly, many residents volunteer with Eastside Baby Corner. Eastside Baby Corner ensures that babies begin life with adequate food, clothing, beds, and safety equipment.
Volunteer Work Supports Good Health
Neuroscientists have proven that giving is a powerful pathway for creating more personal joy, and improving overall health. The brain releases, what scientists call, the happiness trifecta of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin when volunteers experience joy.
Additionally, these powerful neorochemicals have a positive affect on mood, sleep, appetite, even stress.
“For older adults social interaction is key to staying healthy, and enjoying life,” says Cliff Warner who directs the Thrive program for Era Living.“There are volunteer coordinators in every Era Living community. They make getting out, and volunteering easy for our residents. It’s a win-win.”