December 2021 Newsletter
Your Impact Matters!
Betty had an outdated computer where she had been able to save photos of her family members, and she had no knowledge of tablets. When she needed something from the store, she would have to ask her son to purchase it for her, and this was sometimes embarrassing. Betty received an iPad from a CVCOA caseworker at no cost, and she learned to place online orders for things she needed to maintain her independence.
When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to isolate her from her loved ones, she used technology to communicate with people in her life, including family who lived far away. Betty also got a kick out of learning to ask Siri for the weather or to tell her a joke.
Betty told her case manager, "Please keep this program going. It is great for older people in Vermont.”
Your gift today will help people like Betty maintain independence and connection to community.
As you consider your year-end giving plans, we hope that you will support the health and well-being of Central Vermonters through a gift to Central Vermont Council on Aging.
Your donation of $10-$100 supports a grocery card, gas card for medical appointments, or heating fuel assistance.
Your donation of $150 will purchase a Creative Care Kit for an older adult.
Your donation of $300 will support six months of in-home internet access for an older adult.
Your donation of $450 will purchase an accessibility upgrade in the home of an older adult.
Your donation of $600 will purchase an iPad for an older adult.
Your donation of $1200 or more will support a special congregant meal at one of our partner mealsites.
Your generous gift will ensure that older adults have the means to buy groceries or gas when they run out of funds, are able to access the internet from their homes, can participate in creative aging activities, have the ability to stay safe at home with accessibility upgrades, can meet for a community meal with their neighbors, and much more.
Medicare & You Workshops:
Medicare & You Workshops are offered regularly to help individuals who are new to the Medicare system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CVCOA is offering Medicare & You sessions remotely using Zoom.
If you want to participate, pre-register by calling 802-479-0531 or by sending an email with your name, address, phone number, and the date of the workshop you would like to register for, to: [email protected]. We will then email you information on how to join the workshop session on Zoom.
Tuesday, December 14th, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week:
Did you know this week, December 6-10, is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week?
This initiative, led by the Vermont Department of Health, reminds us all of road satefy awareness practices and tips for older drivers and their families.
One easy place to start, if this isn't something you've thought about already: Find out what safety features your vehicle offers!
To check out the Older Driver Planning Tool, visit: https://www.roadsafeseniors.org/planning-tool.
Memorable Times Online
Join us on Wednesday, January 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Zoom for our next Memorable Times Online,
"Ringing in 2022!" We will continue the Memorable Times tradition of virtually visiting New Year's celebrations around the world...as well as sharing our own hopes and intentions for the brand new year.
Music, stories, memories, community: 2022 here we come! Join us.
Contact Barb Asen at [email protected] or 802-476-2681 for the Zoom link or more information.
Memorable Times Online is a relaxed social time for people living with mild to moderate memory loss and their care partners. Sponsored by Central Vermont Council on Aging in partnership with ABLE Libraries of the state of Vermont.
2021 Creative Care Kit Project Launches!
As volunteer drivers took to the streets with Creative Care Kits over the past few weeks, some recipients were happily surprised to answer the door to Santa's Helpers in recent days!
The photo to the left shows Penny receiving a kit from volunteer delivery driver and board member Paula Otenti.
The Creative Care Kit project is part of CVCOA's Creative Aging initiative, sponsored by Meals on Wheels and the Vermont Arts Councils.
This winter, participants will use the art materials they received to construct drawing or poetry-based art projects. Teaching artists Christine Mix and J. C. Wayne created videos and a binder full of lessons and prompts to accompany the materials. Participants will also meet in Zoom calls for live sessions with the teaching artists and work alongside Creative Companion volunteers who will help support the creative journey.
This year's project culminates in a community event to celebrate and display the art-making of our community. We are excited to share more with you in the coming months!
A limited supply of Creative Care Kits is still available for older adults who are motivated and looking for a way to stay engaged and practice creative skills this winter and spring.
Please contact Luke Rackers, Director of Development and Communications, at [email protected] or 802-479-1953 for more information about signing up to receive a kit.
To get involved volunteering to deliver kits or applying to become a Creative Companion volunteer, contact Anne Greshin, RSVP Program Coordinator, at [email protected] or 802-241-4840.
This activity is made possible by a grant provided by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with Aroha Philanthropies.
Judy Greenwald Featured at Espresso Bueno Cafe
If you weren't already aware, this month's newsletter makes clear the abundance of art and artists thriving in Central Vermont, and we're excited to share Judy Greenwald, who has previously exhibited her work at our Barre office, is the featured artist this season!
Espresso Bueno, a downtown Barre neighbor to the CVCOA office, regularly features artists on cafe walls for patrons to enjoy and even purchase pieces to add to their own collections. Greenwald's work will be displayed until December 29.
Greenwald, at age 87, remarks the current show highlights "all new works," so those who may already be familiar with her art will be excited to take in the scenes. She also mentioned the show, which began on November 17, sold 10 pieces in one week! It's no surprise---the warm colors permeate through the cold air that's settled over Vermont with a feeling that's just like a hug.
Don't hesitate to check it out, and enjoy a warm cuppa as you soak up the warmth of her vibrant paintings, one of which is shown below.
Getting vaccinated is free, safe and easy. Plus, once vaccinated, you are helping to strengthen our communities—your families, your neighbors, and the guy at the post office. We can defeat COVID-19 by adding to the number of people vaccinated.
CVCOA Welcomes New Community Engaged Tech Specialist: Meredith Holch
We are thrilled to welcome Meredith Holch, as the CVCOA Community Engaged Tech Specialist.
Meredith is an avid believer in the public good that comes from working with local organizations. Before finding her way to the Central Vermont Council on Aging, she ran her own video and animation business for local non-profits. She was Executive Director of the Hardwick Community Station for five years, where she learned how much she enjoys interacting with community members she might not otherwise meet in her daily life. She has also been an active organizer of local food shelves and community meals in the Northeast Kingdom.
She is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in animated movies that focus on relevant social issues close to home. Her films have been broadcast on PBS and have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, the National Art Gallery, DC, the Exploratorium, SF, as well as at international film festivals, art galleries, and colleges and universities.
Meredith received her BA in Public Policy and French from Duke University, and an MFA in Film/Video from Bard College. In her spare time she plays old-timey fiddle, cross-country skis, and is working on a middle-grade novel.
We sat down with her to talk more about her role at CVCOA.
What draws you to working with tech and older adults?
I’ve been using computers to create digital media for the past twenty-five years, mostly as a filmmaker and video editor. Connecting with people, whether through interviews, brainstorming content ideas, documenting events, or collaborating with others has always been one of my favorite parts of the process.
Because my mother is in her nineties, living at home but no longer able to get out, I’ve become more in touch with the aging process. I’ve also found that the process of hooking up with services, from health needs to social activities, is done primarily online. My siblings and I do this online navigating for my mother because she never picked up the technical skills to search the internet herself while she was more able.
My new position at CVCOA allows me to not only help seniors improve their technical skills, but also to develop programs that will motivate them to do so. One major benefit is that this will allow them to access programs and services independently, without having to rely on a caregiver, family member, or friend. If my mother is any indication, seniors prefer to speak for themselves rather than to have someone speak for them.
What role does tech play in helping connect older adults?
Many older Vermonters feel lonely and isolated, particularly in the winter months when driving is difficult and life is more homebound. Many lack the digital devices, internet connection, or technical know-how needed to Zoom or use social media to keep up with friends and family.
They miss out on online neighborhood networks such as Front Porch Forum. They can only watch local high school basketball games if someone stops by to set it up for them.
Through my new role at CVCOA, I will be able to help get seniors hooked up with digital devices such as iPads, make sure they have an internet connection, and help them acquire or improve technical skills. With the aid of technology, they can share their experiences with friends and family, learn something new on Youtube, take a webinar, listen to podcasts, and keep in touch with current trends.
What is your favorite thing to use the computer/internet for?
Video editing and animation are my favorite ways to use the computer. The internet is a great way to share the videos and animations I make.
What is a goal that you hope to achieve in this role?
I look forward to spending more time with older adults, hearing what they have to say, and helping them figure out their technical concerns. I am also looking forward to seeing and hearing any creative work they might care to share, both in person, and online.
The more people I can assist to feel a stronger sense of belonging and connection, the better!
Featured Mealsite: Greater Randolph Senior Center
The picture above shows the team at the Greater Randolph Senior Center receiving the Community of Strength Award, an award announced at the CVCOA Together Again! event, that honors the work of mealsite staff, directors, and volunteers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greater Randolph Senior Center certainly knows how to stay busy: they continue to offer Grab and Go meals from Monday to Thursday of each week. Visit their Facebook page to keep up:
We Need You: Volunteer Opportunities!
Meals on Wheels Drivers Needed throughout Central Vermont:
Montpelier Senior Activity Center - FEAST Program:
Will be looking for new drivers starting in November for the re-opening of their kitchen and shift back to daily hot meal delivery. Drivers needed for all delivery days.
Mad River Valley Senior Center in Waitsfield:
How many drivers needed: 1 (regular)
Day(s) Needed: Every Thursday
Shift start and approximate end time: 11:00 AM (meal pickup) - 1:00 PM (approximate window to deliver ten meals)
Greater Randolph Senior Center:
How many drivers needed: 3 (regular, one day per week)
Day(s) Needed: M-Th
Shift start and approximate end time: 10:15 AM (meal pickup) - 12:00 PM (approximate window for one hour of driving)
City Hotel Cafe in Barre:
How many drivers needed: 3-5
Day(s) Needed: M-F
Shift start and approximate end time: 9:30 -11:00 AM
Twin Valley Senior Center:
Drivers, Packers, and Hostesses needed
How many volunteers needed: 3-6 (Regular and Substitutes)
Days Needed: M, W, F
Shift start and approximate end time: 8:00 - 9:30 AM, 9:00 - 11:30 AM,
or 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Waterbury Area Senior Center:
How many drivers needed: 2 (Regular), Several Substitutes
Day(s) Needed: Tuesdays and Fridays
Shift start and approximate end time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
*This site also seeks subs to drive on an as-needed basis when regular drivers are unavailable and kitchen help (meal prep / dishes) from 8:00 AM - 1: 00 PM
Lamoille County Senior Center:
How many drivers needed: 2 Regular, 1 Substitute
Day(s) Needed: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
Shift start and approximate end time: 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Direct Service volunteer opportunities are also available including companionship, transportation, grocery shopping, friendly calling, organizing, and more!
Make giving back your second act! AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers bring their unique skillsets and experiences to help people and communities thrive.
AmeriCorps Senior Programs
AmeriCorps Seniors programs are open specifically to Americans age 55 and older. Help an older adult live independently when you join Senior Companions. Serve as a friend and companion by providing assistance and friendship to seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks. The program aims to keep older adults independent longer, and provide respite to family caregivers.
To learn more about joining AmeriCorps Senior as a Senior Companion, contact: Sarah Semler, Director of Volunteer Services, at 802-476-0151 or [email protected].
Join Our Team: We are Hiring!
Hybrid Case Manager/Options Counselor (Multiple Openings, 40 hours / week): Based in our Barre Office, the Hybrid Case Manager/Options Counselor will work with older persons to remain in their homes through creative connections with state and community resources. We are looking for new team members who work well with others and can empathize with their needs, are comfortable with computers, are strong communicators and are enthusiastic to learn and grow as professionals. The successful applicant will also have the ability to work independently and as part of a team, reliable transportation, experience with data entry and a working knowledge of MS Office, Excel, Word and Outlook. Experience with senior populations and public benefits programs is preferred. To apply, please send resume and cover letter to [email protected].
To learn more about employment at CVCOA visit: cvcoa.org/employment
CVCOA offices will be closed on December 23rd, 24th, and 31st. Happy holidays!
Central Vermont Council on Aging does not charge central Vermonters for the services we provide.
Change the lives of older adults in your community.