By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
Kudos to the volunteers of The Legacy Willow Bend and The Legacy Preston Hollow who received much-deserved recognition for their dedication to the concept and spirit of tikun olam. These individuals and corporations have given selflessly to enrich the lives of residents and staff members.
PLANO — In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month, the staff and residents of The Legacy Senior Communities recently hosted a special event to recognize the individuals and groups who dedicate their time at each community, The Legacy Willow Bend life care retirement community in Plano and The Legacy Preston Hollow in Dallas.
This past year, volunteers spent an estimated 8,000 hours-plus with seniors and staff at the communities. The event, co-chaired by Florence Kramer and Marilyn Schaffer, included an awards ceremony during which Rivae Balkin-Kliman, volunteer coordinator for The Legacy Senior Communities, announced the Rookie of the Year Award for each community, the Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award and an Outstanding Student Volunteer Award.
She also gave special recognition to the mah jongg players who have been coming to The Legacy Willow Bend and The Legacy Preston Hollow for six years. The Legacy Senior Communities’ volunteer program has a wide variety of options for individuals as well as groups and organizations to get involved.
By providing computer assistance, giving musical performances or simply lending a listening ear to exchange stories one-on-one, volunteers have been giving the tremendous gift of their quality time at the communities.
“I am always amazed to witness the volunteers’ tremendous involvement, and it is important to recognize the positive impact they make all year long,” Balkin-Kliman said. “They often don’t even realize the significant influence they are having on the individuals who live at The Legacy Willow Bend and The Legacy Preston Hollow.
“Every visit, regardless of the activity or amount of time involved, is deeply appreciated by the seniors and by the staff at each community.”
Sarah Gile, who works for Morgan Stanley and spends much of her time visiting one-on-one with residents at The Legacy Preston Hollow, was honored as Rookie of the Year. McMillen High School student Austin Rios earned the same title for his time spent at The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano.
“While my volunteerism at The Legacy Willow Bend started last fall simply as a way to accomplish the required service hours for induction into the National Honor Society, I realized after only a couple of visits just how amazing and wonderful volunteering can be,” he said.
Typically, Rios spends about four or five hours every other Saturday socializing with the seniors at The Legacy Willow Bend, doing office work or assisting those in memory support with a game of bingo.
He has noticed the way his listening skills and patience have been developed further through his visits with the residents. Rios recognizes that being a good listener and patient with others positively impacts the leadership positions he currently holds in other extracurricular activities.
The devoted teams of mah jongg players were also recognized at the event. Multiple groups meet throughout the week at each community. One group made up of Claire Meth, Marlene Sternberg, Way Chen, Linda Pomarantz, Athene Harmel and Marcy Sherman meets Mondays at The Legacy Willow Bend. Another group meets there on Thursdays and includes Nonie Schwartz, whose mother is a resident there, Cheri Komaiko, Susan Preston, Bonnie Piotrikowsky, Marilyn Schwartz, Mimi Kogut and Shelly Guyer.
On Fridays, Nancy Immerman, Linda Pomerantz, Carol Cohen and, most recently, Dorothy Borschow get together to play at The Legacy Preston Hollow.
In addition, Hitachi Consulting was honored with the 2014 Corporate Volunteer of the Year award. The group made a significant impact in December singing festive holiday songs during dinner-time and distributing goody bags at The Legacy Preston Hollow. The group organizes many activities throughout the year and currently has plans to put on an outdoor carnival, hold a lecture series for residents to learn about where the consultants have traveled and they will participate in a fun costume party around Halloween. The consultants make a tremendous positive impact on the residents, and they are an example of a wonderful partnership with The Legacy Senior Communities.
The “Outstanding Student Volunteer Award” was given to brother and sister Richard and Angela Liu, who spend time at The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano.
Anyone interested in volunteer opportunities can contact The Legacy Senior Communities volunteer coordinator Rivae Balkin-Kliman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-468-6191.