8 posts categorized "Volunteering"

April 17, 2014

Recognizing Our Volunteers: Bob Rizzo

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and SAGE would like to recognize our many volunteers for all that they do. From our Friendly Visitor program to our Cyber Center and Drop-In room hosts, our volunteer-led programs and people serving meals, we could not perform all of our work without them! 

BobRizzoThis week, we asked Bob Rizzo from our Friendly Visitor program a few questions about his experience. Read his responses below:

Why do you volunteer?

In general, I volunteer to connect with and give back to my community, and hopefully make it a better place. To me volunteering is a two-way street. It's not just doing something for someone less fortunate than myself, but more of an exchange. 

What makes volunteering at SAGE special or different?

Last year when I was investigating where I could volunteer my time, a good friend of mine (who worked at SAGE as a social worker) thought I'd be a good candidate for their friendly visitor program. I had no idea this program existed and was immediately drawn to the fact that it dealt with the aging LGBT community. What a wonderful opportunity to visit and befriend someone who may not otherwise have a social or support system in place. One of the remarkable things about the SAGE friendly visitor program is their meticulous process of matching up compatible, like-minded individuals.

How long have you been volunteering at SAGE? Or in general?

I've been with SAGE since June 2013, though I've volunteered for other organizations such as Gods Love We Deliver and GMHC over the past 20 years.

Do you have a specific memory of a volunteer experience that you would like to share?

Absolutely! My SAGE "friend at home" Kurt, is eighty five years old, partially disabled, and a former Broadway performer. The facility where he lives has an acting class that he takes once a week. About a month ago he invited me to a "performance" of his acting class, where he would be the master of ceremonies. Naturally, I said that I would love to go. The following week when i walked into the community room for the show, there was Kurt sitting center stage, complete with a tux shirt, bow tie, and top hat. There were fifteen elderly women seated in a semi-circle around him, all dressed in roaring twenties outfits. It was a sight to behold. He said that he was so happy I came, and to please sit in the front row so I wouldn't miss anything. The music then started, and as Kurt began to speak and introduce the play, the weak and physically impaired man I'd known for the past four months, literally transformed into his former, younger self. He sat up erect in his chair, his diction was loud and clear, he played off his costars, and he knew exactly how to hold for a laugh. Needless to say, Kurt was obviously a very talented performer in his day. It was hard to hold back the tears as I took photos throughout the performance, and it's a memory I will always cherish.

Kurtandbob

December 5, 2013

A BIG Thank You to our Volunteers

Today is International Volunteer Day and we would love to recognize all of the amazing work our volunteers do for SAGE. The United Nations started this international observance back in 1985 and this year's focus is "Young. Global. Active." While the U.N. recognizes the contributions of all volunteers, they are paying special tribute to youth volunteers. We want to celebrate ALL of our volunteers, young and old, because SAGE volunteers run the gamut.

From our recent Thanksgiving event, where our volunteers spent the day with us, instead of with their own family and friends, to our Friendly Visitors, who make the lives of homebound LGBT seniors a bit easier, to those leading our karaoke nights, our volunteers fulfill a crucial part of our mission -- to improve the lives of LGBT older adults. 

Volunteers are truly the backbone of SAGE. Without them, we would not be able to offer the breadth of services and programs at our main SAGE office and our SAGENet affiliates across the country! We appreciate everything our volunteers do and if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, be sure to check out the options on our site.

You can also read why Mark Galvez volunteers at SAGE, view some pictures of our volunteers in action this Thanksgiving or watch our video below celebrating our Friendly Visitors!

 

October 25, 2013

The 2013 SAGE Awards & Gala

On October 21, 2013, SAGE staff, board, supporters and constitutents gathered at Gotham Hall in NYC to celebrate another year of providing services and advocacy to LGBT older adults. We all extend a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the honorees and supporters of the 18th Annual SAGE Awards & Gala.  With your support, we were able to exceed our fundraising goal of $500,000! Our honorees included the amazing Roberta Kaplan, Jay Lesiger, Chris Kann and Jewish Home Lifecare for all of the work they do on behalf of our LGBT older adult population.

August 14, 2013

Overcoming Barriers While Looking for Work

Howard.leifmanToday's guest post is written by Dr. Howard Leifman.  Dr. Leifman is a NYS licensed psychotherapist and career coach.  He works with individuals and corporations to assist them better themselves and their organizations.  He has been a SAGE Volunteer since 1990.  He regularly runs workshops for SAGEWorks.

Looking for work has never been easy! Somehow when we were younger, it did seem easier, but the truth is, it never was easy.  We just either cared less or didn’t seem to be aware of as much as we do now. 

The challenge is we look at ourselves and see more doubt, more possible rejections and sadly more barriers! As a therapist and professional coach I work with individuals of all ages work through these barriers, both the real and the perceived ones.

I make this distinction because yes there are some very real barriers to finding work but then there are also some barriers that we put up ourselves. I’ll share some of the most common ones I hear and how I work with people to do something about them.

1. I’m too old!

My response is too old for what? If you believe you are too old to do the job and bring that thinking into the interview then guess what, your interviewer isn’t going to try and challenge you on it.  If you don’t believe you can do the job, it is not the responsibility of the interviewer to persuade you otherwise.

One of the biggest changes I try and get clients to make is go into an interview with your strengths showing not waving a banner of your weaknesses! Once again, I am not going to say this is easy, only be careful not to sabotage yourself before you get started! 

Some of the ways to overcome this is to think about the requirements of the job that are stated in the job description.  Think about experiences you have had in the past that are similar and that you have been successful at.  Think about examples you can share with the interviewer that demonstrates where and how you have done this and what the outcomes were. Be ready to share a story that has a beginning, middle and end!  A short story not a novel! Have a point of view and come to it quickly.

2. They’re never going to hire me!

With thinking like this you are correct!  We call this the self fulfilling prophecy.  If you go into the interview already defeated there isn’t much place to go. If you go into the interview saying, I can do this, I have done this and they would be lucky to have me then you have a shot.  Don’t be cocky just confident. 

Again, here is your opportunity to share where and how you have done something like this or similar to this.  Here is your opportunity to share with them how you made a difference. 

3. There are so many people to choose from, why would they choose me?

Granted there are a lot of people, of all ages, to choose from. However, because you are more mature than many, you can bring more experience, more knowledge and more understanding to the job than many, you might also be better than most! But you have to believe it.

4. So much has changed in technology I can never learn!

The truth is learning how to go from a typewriter to a computer was more of a change than going from one format to another! While there are a number of new programs and technological skills out there, the basics still remain. Still nervous? Take a computer class or visit YouTube for a wealth of how-to tutorials and brush up on your skills.

The real key to overcoming barriers is trying, learning and practicing! If you aren’t willing to try, it won’t happen; if you are not open to learning new things, it won’t happen; and if you don’t practice it, you take your chances that it won’t be successful. 

I’m not saying it is easy, but then again, what is.  What I am saying is I see people succeeding everyday so I know it is doable!!  This is also where SAGE is so helpful.  They have the people and the resources to help you TRY, LEARN and PRACTICE!        

So I leave you today with this one thought.  Have you tried, learned and practiced something new today?  If not, contact SAGE and let them share with you how you can!

 

May 20, 2013

Council Leaders Identify and Implement LGBT Specific Health Strategies

Chicago
Credit: Healthy Chicago LGBT Community Action Plan
The following is a guest post by Serena Worthington, SAGE's Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity Building.

Tomorrow begins a new adventure in community service for me. I’ll be attending the first meeting of the newly-formed Chicago LGBT Health Advisory Council which was created to “provide insight and input to the Department of Public Health on implementation of the LGBT Health Action Plan.” The LGBT Health Action Plan is an outline of 22 strategies designed to “improve the overall health of Chicago’s LGBT community.”

Our mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had this nice thing to say about the council.

"Chicago's strength is in the diversity of its communities, and I am committed to ensuring that all Chicagoans have access to the care and information they need to live healthy lives and contribute fully to the vibrancy of our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This advisory council will lend important insight and knowledge to our efforts.”

I am joined by 15 talented and accomplished folks, some of whom I know already and some that I am excited to meet for the first time tomorrow. 

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April 23, 2013

National Volunteer Week: Volunteerism Is at the Heart of SAGE

Did you know? April 21-27, 2013 is National Volunteer Week!

Sage Friendly Visiting_20121021_0087
Lucio (in yellow) and Jeannette (to Lucio's right) have been matched for 1.5 years and are very attached to each other.

According to the week’s official sponsor, National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

At SAGE, our volunteers embody the spirit of service. They are an important part of our family, spending their available time with us to lead programming at The SAGE Center, offer mature job-seekers tips on finding work through SAGEWorks or work with LGBT elders in their own communities across the nation through SAGENet. Without these valuable members of our community, we could not do all that we do.

In fact, one of our oldest and most recognizable volunteer programs, the Friendly Visiting program, is led by an outstanding SAGE volunteer, Matilde Busana. The SAGE Friendly Visitor program, founded in 1979 and the first of its kind in the U.S., matches volunteers from the community with LGBT older adults ("friends at home") to form relationships that are mutually rewarding and build community.

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April 16, 2013

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Today marks the 6th annual National HealthCare Decisions Day.  The purpose of this day is to inspire, educate & empower the public & providers about the importance of advance care planning.

To educate the LGBT community about advance care planning, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging worked with Tom Sciacca, a Trusts and Estates attorney, and SAGE Legal Clinic volunteer, to create informational videos about the importance of wills, advance directives and the legal impact of marriage.  Watch the videos below and stay tuned for SAGE events later in the month around advance directives.

 

January 19, 2013

Honoring MLK Day of Service: How One SAGE Volunteer Gives Back

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

- Martin Luther King Jr.

IMG_2726
SAGE Harlem Program Assistant, Patricia Fraser and Volunteer Shelly Montrose
(Click Photo to Enlarge)

January 21, 2013 will mark the official Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Service, empowering individuals and communities to come together and volunteer their time to get involved and give back. Americans are encouraged to help out where they can, whether it’s serving food at a soup kitchen or organizing a clothing drive for those in need. Together, we can begin to create solutions to social problems, moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.

At SAGE, our volunteers embody the spirit of service. They are an important part of our family, spending their available time with us to lead programming at The SAGE Center, visit a homebound LGBT older adult through Friendly Visitors or work with LGBT elders in their own communities through SAGENet. Without these valuable members of our community, we could not do all that we do.

This year, SAGE is celebrating MLK Day of Service a bit early with the White House. In honor of this day, we are highlighting the story of Shelly Montrose, an African American female volunteer at our SAGE Harlem program. A neighborhood program based on affinity, SAGE Harlem is dedicated to creating a safe haven for LGBT older people in Harlem, East Harlem and the Bronx and connecting them to services in their community. Shelly, an older lesbian herself, is a longtime Harlem resident and has been volunteering with SAGE for almost a year. Shelly told us how she became a volunteer:

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