Long-time JABA volunteer Bob Cooper

Long-time JABA volunteer Bob Cooper

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How do you connect with and contribute to your community? 

Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! That’s because older adults play an important role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives. Here’s a small sample of the ways that older adults in our area are contributing their time, talents, and life experience to help others.

At the bottom of this page help inspire others to contribute by letting JABA know how YOU connect with and contribute to your community!

Willow Drinkwater, 77, of Gordonsville

“I help run an emergency food service called Feed My Sheep making sure no one is hungry within 15 miles of Gordonsville which touches 5 counties. Calls coming in to 211 within our area come to my house where we have a grant funded pantry. We also have a free lunch the last Saturday of every month.”

Ruth Poole, 73, of Albemarle County

“My kids say I love to feed everyone. I do enjoy serving others especially via food. But the truth is I love serving at the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. Yes, I get to serve my neighbors who are nutritionally at risk. Yes, that feels amazing. But more importantly these neighbors meet me and greet me and are so generous with their smiles, their warm stories and jokes, that I come away having been filled up with hope and love and their generosity of spirit. It helps too that the the other volunteers there are just as wonderful as the clients.”

Gary Grant, 70, of Earlysville

"I volunteer at Broadus Wood Elementary School, UVA Hospital, and the Earlysville Exchange. By paying attention to local news from a variety of media sources and asking questions of and making comments to the members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. As a retiree, volunteering and paying attention to my community is rewarding and keeps me alert."

Candace Schoner, 59, of Charlottesville

"I currently work for Visiting Angels, a home care agency. We provide companions, PCAs and CNAs to seniors throughout Central Virginia who need assistance with daily activities so that they may stay comfortable and safe in their homes as long as possible."

Stuart Munson, 62, of Scottsville

"I moved to Scottsville six years ago to live in a small, friendly, historic town. Its rich history and wonderful people make me want to contribute to its future. Passing my neighbors from Buckingham and Albemarle County walking around town I can see ways I can use my experience to contribute to the community. I volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club to give kids a place to go during the summer. I open the Scottsville Museum to townspeople and visitors who want to learn more about our history. And I help clean up our parks so that everyone can enjoy their beauty. I love my town and I love being a part of helping it grow."

Roberta Beauregard, 66, Stony Point area in Albemarle County

"I am a Volunteer with the JABA's FISH school mentoring program. I assist at Stony Point Elementary since it is in my "neighborhood". It is important to me because I not only want to 'connect' with the community, but I want contribute something worthwhile and I feel that this is a good way to do that."

Gloria Morgan, 69, of Troy, Virginia

"I volunteer at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, the Adult Learning Center ESOL 2 class, various social action volunteering for my church, Sunday Soup Kitchen at the Haven, PACEM, IMPACT, and various fundraisers. It’s important for me to give back, plus it gives me purpose. I have a blessed life and am so thankful and grateful that I am able to volunteer and feel I receive as much, if not more, than I give."

Nancy van den Heever, 71, of Charlottesville

“I work part-time as a receptionist at a local Assisted Living facility. I take numerous OLLI classes thru UVA throughout the year, and have been Class Assistant for several classes. I also participate in history lectures at the Senior Center (now The Center) and in lectures and Movie Night at the Northside Library. I am also Secretary for the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. I enjoy socializing and feel it is healthy.”

Jacqueline Hostage, 88, of Charlottesville

“I manage Nursing Homes Swing, a program that brings live music concerts to 12 area nursing/assisted living residences each month (including four JABA facilities). I/we have been doing this for 12 years and it has been the number one focus of my time. In the years before that, I had been a "visitor" from my church to several nursing homes and in making friends with some of the residents, my husband and I realized how much they needed some uplifting activities and music seemed to be high on their list. Once we began bringing music to the residences, we saw how beneficial it was — for the Alzheimers gentleman who couldn't speak but could sing along; the young paraplegic who could do nothing by himself but found comfort in the music; another young man who was so afflicted that he couldn't even hold up his head but never missed a performance; the tapping feet from people who seemed to be lost from everything else around them; the older woman who was brought to tears by such happy memories that she asked the band to play "All of Me" again (and, of course, they did). Hardly a concert goes by without one of us being moved by something we see. And, at my advanced age, I know just how they feel. I've worked at many rewarding jobs, including as president of a small publishing company, but no job has ever fulfilled me like this one.”

Robert Babyok, 73, of Spring Creek at Zion Crossroads

"I serve on the Louisa Board of Supervisors devoting my time and energy to improve the quality of life for all of our County residents. Being in the business of service, doing things for people instead of to people has always paid personal dividends to me. Interacting to gain understanding, then seeking solutions to make a positive difference is rewarding, invigorating and expands one's purpose in living a more full life."

Janis Arave, 86, of Charlottesville

“I belong to a group at The Center that sews for the UVA Children's hospital, We make 50 medical dolls, 12 bibs, and 15 tracheostomy bags each month plus other things they may need.”

Blue OConnell, 60, of Charlottesville

“I play percussion (mostly snare drum) in two bands. (at The Center and at church ). I lead sing alongs in several nursing homes in the area. I play therapeutic music on my guitar for hospital patients at UVA hospital and for nursing homes. I do musical activities with people with disabitlies. It’s important to me because music is a way to connect with people. When I play for hospital patients, some of them are so vulnerable and I remember feeling that way too so many times in my life. I can play them a song to comfort them and bring up happy memories or smooth their pain. I can bring them hope and peace and healing. In return, they bring me a sense of purpose and make me feel I can do something positive for others.”

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