Arc volunteer Eileen and support staff member Nancy help a senior volunteer prepare meals before serving time.
If its October, then the time to celebrate Arctober has arrived!! All this month, we will be bringing you stories about what members of our community are up to on our website, Facebook and twitter pages, and we encourage you to stop by and check them out!
This year, Arctober activities are in honor of the 30th anniversary of Chapter 688, better known as the “Turning 22” law. As many of you know, the federal government guarantees the right to education for all students with disabilities from birth to age 21. In Massachusetts, thanks to the tireless efforts of parents like those who formed The Arc itself, the state passed this critical law to address the needs of students for continuing assistance as they move from the educational system to adult life. It provides a process through which individuals with disabilities can be assisted by agencies like The Arc to make the transition to the residential, vocational, and support services that may be needed in their adult life.
The Arc of the South Shore is proud to support individuals who have grown out of their special education program and is devoted to ensuring that their adult lives are filled with learning, community engagement, challenging work and volunteer opportunities!
Volunteering at Weymouth’s Whipple Senior Center
Every Thursday, participants in the Arc’s Community-Based Day Supports program visit Weymouth’s Whipple Senior Center to serve lunch to senior citizens there. Together with a qualified member of our staff, two to three men and women drive over together to set the tables and serve lunch to seniors who come to dine on that particular day.
Each of the participants has their own role: be it counting out the silverware, making sure everyone that wants it has bread and milk, or washing the dishes at the end of the meal. They support one another during rushes, all the while chatting with the seniors.
“Sometimes it can be hard,” one of our participants, Eileen, said when asked about the work. “But I can try. I like it!”
Lunch time at the Whipple Center!
Karolyn, the site manager who makes sure everything goes smoothly, said she always looks forward to days when members of the Arc visit. In addition to volunteering on Thursdays, some of our community members who are themselves senior citizens attend lunch on Wednesdays, and some community members also go volunteering with Arc staff to deliver hot meals to seniors in their homes once a week–so she sees “Arc people” all the time.
“I absolutely love working with the Arc. My daughter has down syndrome, so I feel like I am looking at the future when I work with them. Whether it is eating lunch with them, or when they serve lunch to our seniors, or when they pick up meals for delivery, they are all so kind and generous. There is nothing but good that comes from having them come in here.”
The afternoon passes quickly, and the kind generosity of visitors from the Arc–who participate as volunteers–is matched by the patience and gratitude of the seniors, who compliment Arc volunteers and joke about being featured in a story.
“Better not take a picture of me,” said Norman, one of the seniors eating lunch.
Marianne, who made the point to arrive early for lunch on that day, warned him not to be rude. “I’m just protecting the camera, Marianne,” Norman smiled, “although you have a point. If my mother were here, she would slap me.”
“Lean over,” she said, “and I’ll do it for her.”
“Oh, wow,” said Eileen, who was standing nearby. “I don’t think she meant it.” And with that, we all broke out into laughter together.
Norman, Marianne (hidden behind Eileen), and Eileen laughing together as Eileen refreshes Norman’s milk.
Just a small donation allows us to expand our volunteering work. It pays for gas, for staff support, for supplies, and more! Click here to donate.
For more information about our community-based day supports program, click here.
For more information about South Shore Elder Services and Meals on Wheels, click here.
To join us volunteering at the Whipple Center, email Laurie to schedule a time at firstname.lastname@example.org