The community of Good Works has been involved in the life of seniors, especially widows, since 1980 when Keith Wasserman established a home visitation program in the fall of 1980 prior to opening a shelter for people without homes. The program, established that year through three local churches (New Life Assembly of God, Kenney Memorial Wesleyan and Central Avenue UMC) also included the class entitled Counseling the Older Adult.
During the late 1990s, Good Works established Neighbors Helping Neighbors (formerly Samaritan Projects) to assist widows and citizens with disabilities at their homes with hands-on, practical, labor intensive service. Each year, many volunteers partner with us to assist these citizens with the vision to “make the widows heart sing”. About 10 years ago, Good Works re-established an intentional outreach of visitation to seniors, especially widows at their homes. For additional information, click here for our Volunteer Opportunities page, contact Good Works at 740-594-3339, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Anne Wilson, former coordinator of Senior Friends
My name is Anne, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to coordinate Senior Friends for this season. Emily has had a special gift of connecting with many of the seniors in our community, and I’m honored to get to inherit the trusting friendships she’s built over the years. It’s exciting for me to get to enter into these new friendships and be part of helping people from all walks of life share the gift of presence and love with each other. I know in my own life, friendships with older women and men have been (and are!) a treasure. I learn that we both have something we need to receive and we both have something to give. This makes me glad!
A note from Emily, coordinator of Senior Friends (2010-2013)
I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to be the facilitator of relationships over the past three years with the Senior Friends opportunity. I have grown in friendship with many of the older members of our community and I am a different person because of these role models and heroes in my life.
Senior Friends facilitates friendships between volunteers and older adults, both of whom desire the joy of such a relationship. Our goal for Senior Friends is to make a connection between volunteers in our community and those we have met through our Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative. We try to match those we currently know, or met through Neighbors Helping Neighbors, with a volunteer who takes time building a friendship with their senior match. Anne Wilson becomes the “match maker” between the senior and the volunteer looking to build a friendship.
The true mission of Senior Friends is connection. We are grateful for volunteers who are interested in wanting to build relationships with those in our Athens County who are without connection, support or who are home-bound due to limitations out of their control. The seniors in our community have wisdom and life to give and are often looking for genuine friendship and avenues to share their gifts, time and friendship.
I pray that each of our matches find joy and hope in the lives of their senior and that as we take time to simply be with one another, love is the main result. I am very excited to watch this new season of Senior Friends grow under Anne’s loving care and hope that we can continue to find new ways to “make the widow’s heart sing.” – Emily Axe
A note from Amanda, coordinator of Senior Friends (2007-2009)
During the years I was privileged to oversee Senior Friends, I saw myself as a “facilitator of relationships” rather than a volunteer coordinator. Senior Friends continues to be an opportunity for residents of Athens County to connect with each other. We seek volunteers who are interested in intentionally cultivating relationships with seniors or home-bound individuals who live in our county.
I had the honor of facilitating relationships and coordinating Senior Friends from 2007-2009 . In those short few years, I was blessed to cultivate remarkable relationships and to see relationships between Senior Friends matches flourish! I really valued the opportunity to see the interaction between the “volunteer” and the “senior” transform into relationships of mutuality that alter each person’s life in countless positive ways!
A note from Tara Tomko, a former Appalachian Immersion Intern with Good Works who focused on Senior Friends:
As an Appalachian Immersion Intern I have many responsibilities. Generally, I enjoy all of them. But my favorite is Senior Friends. Coming to Good Works has surfaced many discoveries and gifts in myself that I not know of before. One of these gifts is a connection to people, and a deep sense of caring and compassion for people.
Senior Friends has given me chance to develop this gift and a constant opportunity to use it. I am grateful to God this opportunity I had to be a part of this program, and I am grateful for all the wonderful women I have met. I am grateful for their wisdom and their tea, Pepsi and stuffed animals. But most of all, I am grateful for their friendship, love and acceptance!
Here is a note from Maria (Fisher) Baer, who, with her newly wed husband, became friends with a wonderful couple who lives in Southeast Ohio through Good Works:
A month or so ago, my fiancé Aaron and I started visiting with Albert and Diane, a couple in SE Ohio. We went into it with the hopes that God would use us to minister to this sweet couple who probably didn’t get a lot of other visitors. I should have known, though, that God was going to use them to minister to us just as much as I hoped we would minister to them!
Albert and Diane are timid, but so joyful. They both have a little trouble getting around – Albert is in a wheelchair due to hip trouble and Diane has some knee problems. But they are still “up and about” – always getting us coffee, or playing with their little blonde grandson, Stephen, when he comes to visit. When we visit, we talk about school, grandkids, the way God has worked in our lives, the Bible…computer games, trips to Texas, thriller movies, childhoods…all the sorts of things you’d imagine friends talk about on Wednesday afternoons.
And I think that’s what’s so fun and special about it – Aaron and I get to learn and share with these people whom we’d never have met if God didn’t orchestrate it. We couldn’t be more different from them in terms of where we are in our lives. But we have already learned so much from them; about love and God and happiness and service. They don’t have much, but they run a food pantry out of their living room for the needy in their neighborhood. They’re the type of people I picture Jesus looking at and being so excited – they make it so easy for him to love others through them.
I’m so grateful we decided to share some time with them – but more so that they’ve decided to share with us! It’s so much fun to have found such a treasure in them, in such a small, quiet Ohio town. God truly is everywhere, I think.
“Where two or more are gathered, there I am in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20