Volunteering keeps them young: 3 women from the GLOW region honored by the OFA | Lifestyles


A nurse who came out of retirement to help with COVID-19 vaccinations, a longtime ‘grandmother’ of elementary school students and another who has been involved in many community organizations, were recently honored by the State Office for Aging for exceptional service to the elderly and other members of their community.

The efforts of Jeanne Crane of Orleans County, Dorothy Manes of Avon and Joyce Wechsler of Geneseo were celebrated as part of “Older New Yorkers Day”.

The three women were the sole beneficiaries in the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans or Wyoming.

Crane has always been involved in various volunteer projects at the Orléans Community Health. She has helped raise funds to support hospital renovations, purchase updated medical equipment, and improve patient services. She spent many hours planning, promoting and preparing for fundraisers and then volunteering at events, including a recent campaign to improve the hospital’s long-term care living unit.

When the call went out for nurses to help with COVID-19 vaccines, Crane – who had worked as a nurse for over 30 years at Medina Memorial Hospital / Orleans Community Health – stepped up and helped throughout the day, several days by week. She was then hired to help with the ongoing efforts.

Crane said she always felt a “call” to help others. She has chosen a career in nursing and enjoys volunteering, driven by her commitment to improving the health and well-being of her community.

“The reward you get for volunteering is immeasurable,” she said.

Crane, a native of Vermont, moved to New York City in 1961 and arrived in Orleans County in 1967. She and her late husband raised two children – one a teacher, the other working in the prison system. ‘State and still living in the County of Orleans. .

Manes has been a foster grandparent at St. Agnes d’Avon School since 2009. Over the years, “Grandma Dottie, as she is called, has helped hundreds of elementary school students read, do art and other subjects, supporting their efforts to focus, learn, make friends and thrive.

Teachers praised Manes for working with the one-on-one students and said she was a good role model, positive, and brought a smile to everyone she met.

Manes said she loves getting up and going to school every day to see the kids and although COVID-19 protocols have made the school different, she vows to continue volunteering as a grandmother. mother until she couldn’t do it anymore because “the program is her family.”

Manes worked in hospitals in Florida and Batavia as a housekeeper and housekeeper in a doctor’s office. She has eight children, 26 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

She was married to Jesse Manes for almost 40 years before her death in 2007 and credits the Foster Grandparent Program for giving her back joy while giving her a purpose and a reason to get up every day.

“Get out there and volunteer doing something you love,” Manes said. “It keeps you young, keeps you active, and benefits you as much as those you volunteer to help. “

Wechsler, the first female basketball and volleyball coach at SUNY Geneseo, has long donated her time and energy to local organizations, serving as a Red Cross driver and CPR instructor and driver. Volunteer for Catholic Charities in Livingston County through her faith in the Program of Action, among other efforts.

Wechsler has volunteered for 15 years at Teresa House, a comfort care home in Geneseo, where she is well known for her scones served at fundraisers. She was a founding member of the Friends of Wadsworth library in Geneseo. She has served as president and now secretary of the SUNNY Geneseo Interfaith Center, where she has hosted Thanksgiving dinners for students for many years. She is a member of the Livingston County office for the Advisory Committee on Aging and a member of the board of directors of the Geneseo Torch Club.

Wechsler is from Brooklyn. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education and her Masters of Science in Education from New York University. She taught at Briarcliff College for six years before accepting a position at SUNY Geneseo where she taught health and physical education until her retirement in 1998. She coached at Geneseo for 20 years and was a member and president of the Eastern Association for Physical Education of College. Women at a time when the organization was fighting for Title IX and women’s athletics.

“Since I moved to the beautiful Genesee Valley 53 years ago, I have treasured my time here in this warm community,” said Wechsler. “Although I volunteered while I was working, when I retired I sought to repay this community. I choose my hours and my days, and the people I see. What could be better? “

State Office for Aging director Greg Olson said older people “are powerful contributors to their communities.”

“Older New Yorkers not only help their peers in the same age group, but also families and young people, with a level of voluntary contribution that is unmatched by any other demographic,” said Olsen.

Across New York State, more than 935,000 people aged 55 and over dedicate approximately 495 million hours of service to their communities each year. This translates into an annual economic output of $ 13.8 billion.

“Volunteers are essential in Livingston County to provide many of the supports that allow seniors to age in place,” said Sue Carlock, director of the Livingston County Office for the Aging. “This includes respite services for caregivers, transportation to medical appointments, grocery stores and pharmacies, and health promotion activities such as Tai Chi for arthritis. “

Carlock says older people have stepped up to meet critical needs during the pandemic.

“The number of volunteers in the Livingston County Medical Reserve Corps has more than doubled. These volunteers, a large percentage of whom are seniors, have provided staff for hundreds of county-run vaccination clinics, although they themselves are at risk. Other volunteers battled loneliness by making well-controlled and friendly calls to isolated seniors who stayed at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19, ”Carlock said. “I couldn’t be prouder of their work.

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