has been said that a society can be judged by the way it
treats its young people and its elderly citizens. Here
in Branford there are many services that support the
needs of our elderly population, and hundreds of
volunteers who are part of the team effort.
All of these
people represent a benefit to our town by saving tax
dollars, boosting community spirit and finding
satisfaction in their own lives.
function without our volunteers,” says Dagmar Ridgeway,
the Director of the Canoe Brook
She estimates that approximately 80 volunteers are
involved in the myriad of programs offered at the
Center. The list of
activities is long and is constantly growing and
changing in response to the needs and interest of the
members. “Controlling clutter” is a new class that will
be introduced in September. Regularly offered are
musical programs, movies, sing-alongs, trips, hot
noonday meals, bingo, billiards, puzzles, computers,
arts, crafts and Spanish lessons. Volunteers share their
interests and support the center’s programs in many
ways, from serving meals to coaching in the computer
Canoe Brook is
also the home of Branford’s Medical Transportation
Service. Approximately twenty volunteers provide rides
to clinics and doctors’ offices along the shoreline and
in the New Haven area.
The drivers logged some 91,000 miles last year.
Corradino, volunteer coordinator at Hospice, reports
that more than 500 volunteers, a “good portion” of whom
are from Branford, work along side the medical team that
offers in-home and hospital care for patients with
irreversible illnesses. There are many different
opportunities to volunteer at Hospice. People who serve
as receptionists and clerical workers receive on-the-job
training while those involved in patient care attend a
training program which
meets one evening a week for nine weeks.
with several enthusiastic volunteers had similar themes.
All agree that
Hospice is not a gloomy place, as a first time visitor
might think, but a comfortable “upbeat” place “full of
love and laughter and caring.” The joy they feel comes
from having the opportunity to help individuals and
families at a time when they need it most.
Many volunteers have devoted more than twenty
years to their work at Hospice.
other volunteers at Hospice, and they walk in on all
fours. Seven or eight licensed therapy dogs regularly
make the rounds, sharing their own tail-wagging brand of
“The Jewel of
the Shoreline!” Those are Governor Jody Rell’s
words describing Orchard House, our regional adult day
care center in Short Beach. Director Tom Romano cites
with pride the work of this facility which offers a warm
and comfortable environment for seniors. As an
alternative to assisted living or nursing home care,
Orchard House provides the opportunity for its clients
to remain in their own homes and with their families as
long as possible. The economic and personal benefits are
Board members serve in decision making and fund raising
activities. The “Friends of Orchard House” spend time on
site to assist with special events and holiday parties.
in fund raising through an autumn fair and are always a
presence at their raffle booth during the Branford
has a “wish list” which includes some volunteers with
green thumbs to spruce up the garden for spring. As soon
as weather permits he would like to have some garden
“guides” to enjoy spending an hour or two strolling or
sitting in the garden with his Orchard House guests.
with most jobs, there are usually some fringe benefits.
An unexpected benefit of volunteering is that many
people have established lasting friendships with their
co-volunteers. Volunteering becomes a win-win-win
situation, with rewards to the individual, the agency
and our community.
volunteers are always welcome. For information, please
11 Cherry Hill Rd.
Dagmar Ridgeway, Director, 481-3429
Transportation Coordinator, 481-3429
100 Double Beach Rd.
Patricia Nowak Corradino, Director of Volunteer Service
Orchard House, (East Shore Regional
421 Short Beach Rd.
Tom Romano, 481-7110