Helene Meizler - Program Host
What motivates Helene Meizler to volunteer? She replied with a smile, "I like doing it." A Novi resident since 1998, Helene has actively volunteered since 2009, starting with the Meals on Wheels program. Currently, she volunteers with three different programs. One of these programs, Special Event Luncheons, has her busy taking tickets about once a month.
The Ladies Lunch Bunch is another program which has Helene on the move. In the summer 2014, Older Adult Services (OAS) was looking to revive a long-time social club. To help the program continue with a new format, Helene assisted OAS in transforming it into the Ladies Lunch Bunch. As host, Helene helps choose and make reservations with the restaurants the "Bunch" visits each month. She helps get the word out about this fun, active social program that is open to all ladies 55+.
The third program that "keeps her busy" is the Canasta card program. Meeting most Thursdays at 12:30pm at the Meadowbrook Activity Center, Helene is helping OAS give the card program a chance to succeed and help others stay active by doing what interests them.
Cynthia Hoops - Blood Pressure Check Program
Blood Pressure Check Program
Knowing your health numbers like blood pressure can help you stay healthy and active. To assist residents with tracking their blood pressure, Older Adult Services developed the weekly "FREE Blood Pressure Check" Program in 2007. We are fortunate to have Cynthia Hoops, a retired registered nurse who volunteers her time at the Meadowbrook Activity Center, at least, two Wednesdays a month. Asked about volunteering, she said, "We always believed in giving back to the community." Performing blood pressure checks gives her the opportunity to give back close to home. She has been active in the community since moving to Novi in 1971. Volunteering also gives Cynthia the opportunity to talk with all participants as they wait to hear the results of their check. Over 30 people have a blood pressure record on file. This record is health data which they can share with their health care provider. Cynthia also finds volunteering to be enriching. "They tell me stories that are really neat."
AARP Volunteer Counselors - AARP Tax Aide Program
AARP Volunteer Counselors
For nearly thirty years, City of Novi Older Adult Services (OAS) has partnered with the AARP Foundation to offer the free IRS VITA program AARP Tax-Aide to the Novi community. Every Wednesday, nine dedicated AARP Volunteer Counselors guide people with low to moderate incomes through the tax preparation process at the Novi Civic Center. To be a volunteer Tax Aide counselor, the IRS requires 16 to 20 hours of training as well as extensive testing. Since retiring as an engineer, Jim Lane has been our site coordinator. "I like to help people and occupy my time." Coming from Highland, he has volunteered for 15 years with the program. Our dedicated district coordinator, Susan Tenpas is also a long-time volunteer counselor from Whitmore Lake. Last year, volunteer counselors worked more than 462 hours. The program has been a win-win-win for the Novi Community.
Leo Okonkowski - Meals on Wheels Lunch Server
Meals on Wheels Lunch Server
Like a great infielder in baseball, Leo is the ultimate "utility" volunteer. Since moving to Novi in 2011, Leo has actively volunteered with OAS. He loves helping people. Currently, three different programs keep him busy. One of these programs is Meals on Wheels - Daily Lunch. Many lunch guests use mobility aides. It's a challenge for them to get their meal to their table. As a lunch server, Leo provides a much needed service. With his friendly demeanor, he delivers their delicious lunch right to their table with a side of happiness.
Leo also helps with the Special Event Luncheons. He is the smiling face that distributes cartons of milk, pitchers of ice water and delivers lunches to the tables. Plus, he helps decorate for the luncheons. Always ready to lend a helping hand, Leo also fills in at the Meadowbrook Commons Sundry Shop as needed. When he has time, he likes to help his neighbors with everyday tasks around the apartment community where he lives. "I feel like I'm helping somebody. If the need is there why not?"
Beverly McCarter - All Things Yarn - Knitting/Crocheting Circle Program Host
All Things Yarn - Knitting / Crocheting Circle Program Host
Beverly McCarter is passionate about knitting. She started knitting at the age of eight and never stopped. As a volunteer at Providence Park Hospital's Assarian Cancer Center, she was able to turn her passion into helping others. In 2013, Bev reached out to Older Adult Services and the "All Things Yarn" Knitting/Crocheting Circle was formed. Open to knitters and crocheters of all skill levels, the Circle meets (almost) every Tuesday afternoon at the Meadowbrook Activity Center. Beyond making items to sell, the Circle has a social side. Participants take turns bringing treats for the group's cookie jar, have fun chatting and sharing techniques, giving advice and helping each other knit or crochet beautiful hats, scarfs, lap blankets...whichever the knitter chooses. Items created by the knitters can be donated for sale in the Assarian Center's gift shop or local craft fairs to support patient care. Beverly encourages anyone ready to rekindle their passion for knitting/crocheting to join the "All Things Yarn" Circle. Donations of knitting supplies are gratefully accepted.
Decorating Committee - Special Events
Decorating Committee - Special Events
*Not pictured: Leo Okonkowski, Dee Ann Allen
Older Adult Services hosts ten themed Special Events each year. What makes our Special Events extra special? The decorations of course! The day before each event, our Decorating Committee - Jean Radke, Dorothy Faraday, Barb Henrich, Barb McDonald, Margaret Fitzsimmons, Mims Campbell, Jane Bishop and Rose Brink* gather in the Meadowbrook Activity Center. They come ready to assist our Recreation Programmer in adding that extra touch to the Community Room that makes the parties festive. From placing tablecloths to creating unique centerpieces, they are there to help put it all together including wrapping silverware, setting tables and stuffing goody bags. Long-time volunteer, Jane Bishop commented, “I get a great sense of satisfaction working with the others on the committee. They are GREAT!” Mims Campbell added, “She enjoys working on the decorating committee as a means of keeping in contact with others in the complex. She enjoys the great “bunch” and is proud of how lovely the Community Room looks after the decorating committee has worked their magic.”
A big thank you to our Special Events Decorating Committee for sharing their time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Vi Webster loves to play Bingo. She has been an active bingo player in every city she has lived. After 24 years and three hurricanes living in Florida, Vi moved to Novi. She volunteered to call Bingo as part of the our bi-weekly program in 2007. Always ready to give a helping hand to her neighbors, Vi also volunteers in the Sundry Shop in the Meadowbrook Commons apartment community. The 88 year old has been a frequent caller being assigned to call multiple times each month until recent health issues put her on the sub list. For Vi, each afternoon of Bingo begins by greeting all the participants. Being a Bingo caller is challenging. Vi has developed the skills to “keep the games going.” When playing Bingo, Vi likes to welcome new players to sit at her table. It’s an opportunity to meet new people. Asked the best part of playing Bingo - she smiled, “Winning naturally.”
A big thank you to Vi Webster for sharing her time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Welcome Desk Attendant
After moving back to Michigan to help her family, Carol was ready to “re-fire” after retiring and “still be out there.” She had worked for 30 years as a social worker supporting people in different ways. Over the years, she has helped everyone from pre-teens to hospice patients. A community supporter at heart, Carol was looking for a way to still feel a part of something in Novi. She chose to volunteer as a Welcome Desk Attendant as one of the many volunteer positions she had checked on her application. Now, twice a week, she is the smiling face beyond the Welcome Desk as she assists residents in finding the appropriate city department in the Novi Civic Center. She has also volunteered to help us in the OAS office and assist with special projects. Customer service is an important part of what we do in OAS. We are very fortunate to have Volunteers like Carol to help us meet the needs of the Novi Community.
A big thank you to Carol Hall for sharing her time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Program Host / Pinochle and Euchre
Every week, City of Novi Older Adult Services hosts 5 popular card programs. Glenn Davis is the program host for two of these programs - Pinochle and Euchre. An active volunteer since 2012, he helped start the Euchre program. Glenn became familiar with the City of Novi as a driver for Novi Motive and later as a driver and dispatcher for Novi Senior Transportation. An avid card player, Glenn plays every day plus twice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at different games throughout the city. A Novi resident, Glenn says he really "enjoys the people" as well as the other benefits including the comradery of fellow players and that playing cards "keeps his mind going." He encourages everyone to join - all skill levels are welcome.
A big thank you to Glenn Davis for sharing his time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Meals on Wheels Driver
It was an ad in the newspaper that caught Brenda Hunson’s eye. Meals on Wheels needed volunteer drivers. She saw an opportunity to connect with her new community. Fast forward 15 years and every Wednesday Brenda, a South Lyon resident, starts her day at the Meadowbrook Activity Center. After packing a warming bag with hot meals, she is ready to make deliveries. Depending on the day, she has about 15-20 stops on her designated route. Brenda delivers more than a nutritious meal. Her visit means that, at least, once a day someone is knocking on the door of a homebound older adult. For Brenda, each stop is an opportunity to provide an extra check-in. It’s a chance for her to ask questions and make connections. The participants are very appreciative. They value this opportunity to enjoy a balanced meal and friendly, social interaction. Brenda feels that the “service is priceless for the families” knowing that someone is checking on their family member. She encourages everyone to consider making the 2-3 hour volunteer commitment. Last year, our Meals on Wheels program served over 20,000 meals. Join with Brenda, “the need is there” and Meals on Wheels is still looking for drivers.
A big thank you to Brenda Hunson for sharing her time, talents and enthusiasm with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Program Educator - Chinese Club
Sheila LaFramboise is a teacher, mentor and group facilitator for the Chinese Club. Every Tuesday from 10am – 12noon the group meets at the Meadowbrook Activity Center and Sheila has been an integral asset of the program for the last five years. Four different levels of classes meet. Sheila assists in directing the group in English pronunciation and understanding as well as discussion and problem-solving for various, unique issues for those new or unfamiliar with the United States. She has infused the program with a dynamic approach that reviews the Easy English News by Elizabeth Claire which highlights political current events and personal challenges with humor and added touches, such as maps and an orientation to our world.
Sheila’s volunteer work has also included teaching religion to four-year olds and being a reading tutor for Livonia and Northville elementary schools. When she first started volunteering with City of Novi Older Adult Services in 2010, Shelia helped in the kitchen with the daily lunch and Meals on Wheels programs. As a Program Educator, Sheila has developed a strong attachment to the Chinese Club participants and admires their great friendship and generosity.
A big thank you to Sheila LaFramboise for sharing her time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
City of Novi Older Adult Services works in partnership with the Veterans organizations of the Novi Community - American Legion Post 147, Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America and VFW Post 1519 - to honor the service and sacrifice of Veterans by providing annual special community events. These civic activities include the annual Memorial Day Parade, Veteran’s Day Breakfast and new programs like “Accessing Your Veterans Benefits.”
A big thank you to Novi’s Veterans organizations for sharing their time, talents and patriot spirit with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
American Legion - Lloyd H. Green, Post 147
Lloyd H. Green, Post 147 was founded on August 20, 1920. “Our American Legion Post has been welcoming Veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces. Today, we continue to welcome all military personnel serving our country.“ Post Commander: Dennis Strikulis
“Our mission is to implement the goals, aspirations, dreams, peace and blessings for our country, friends and families embodied in our preamble: For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to nculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to Posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.“
Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America
Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America is celebrating its 52nd year of service in Michigan. MPVA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and a chapter of the national Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), operating according to the standards and practices established by the PVA. The Michigan programs, services, education, and outreach conducted here are made possible by local volunteers, partners, sponsors, and donors. Executive Director: Michael F. Harris
The mission of MPVA is to enhance the lives of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease as well as all citizens with disabilities, by advocating for civil rights, assuring quality health care, supporting continued research and education, and encouraging independence and healthy living through various health, sports and recreational programs. MPVA shall continue striving to remain at the forefront of both veterans’ benefits services and disability rights, while working toward a better quality of life for all American citizens.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Grand River and Police/Fire Fighters Post 1519
In 1930, VFW Post 1519 was founded in Novi. Post Commander: Barry Teagan
“Our Mission is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military and our communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans. Our Vision is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country. Our Core Values: Always put the interests of our members first; Treat donors as partners in our cause; Promote patriotism; Honor military service; Ensure the care of veterans and their families;
Serve our communities; Promote a positive image of the VFW; Respect the diversity of veteran opinions.”
MMAP Volunteer Counselor
Medicare can be confusing, but not for Megan. We are very fortunate to have a dedicated volunteer counselor. Since September 2012, on the first Friday of each month, she has provided Medicare counseling at the Meadowbrook Activity Center. After graduating from Madonna University with a bachelor’s degree in
Gerontology, she started her career working in senior housing. When her little ones came along, she took a break to focus on her children. To stay connected, she became a volunteer counselor with the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program through the Area Agency on Aging 1-B. To be a MMAP counselor,
Megan is required to provide at least 60 hours of one-on-one counseling each year. To stay on top of all the changes to Medicare, she attends regular trainings including monthly educational webinars and outreach meetings. Addition to one-on-one counseling, she hosts presentations on Medicare including a review of the Medicare website, Medicare Health Plan Finder, What's New to Medicare and Changes to Medicare for Older Adult Services and at local churches. An active resident of Novi since 2008, Megan has two young children and her husband Vince is a Novi Paid On-Call Firefighter.
A big thank you to Megan Schira for sharing her time, talents and knowledge with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Ed and Jan Moylan
Ed and Jan Moylan
Novi Walking Club Hosts
Ed and Jan Moylan stepped into the role of Novi Walking Club volunteer coordinators on May 17th with our first walk of the 2014 season. Both Jan and Ed have extensive volunteer experience. Jan volunteers at the Church of the Holy Family providing funeral lunches and staffed the Gift Shop at Providence Park Hospital for 9 years. Ed is currently chairman of the Board for Siena Adult Literacy Center in Northwest Detroit and the Secretary
for the Great Lakes section of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. They have been walking together for 50 years and balance our program out nicely with Jan being the lead guide (“fast one” as Ed would say) and Ed the trail guide. Ed refers to his role as the “drover”. . . pulling up the rear and shepherding all participants to ensure everyone’s safety. Ed and Jan believe that walking gives them more energy and they always feel better for just doing it. They feel that the walk schedule helps them do what they know they should do – get that exercise in! Another incentive for walking with the Walking Club is the people that you meet, which makes the time fly by and keeps it interesting. Jan and Ed lend their wonderful, joyous spirit to the program which inspires and encourages those who walk the parks, streets and neighborhoods of Novi.
A big thank you to Ed and Jan Moylan for sharing their time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
Meals on Wheels Program
Meal Packer and Lunch Server
Almost every Wednesday and Friday morning, you’ll see Beth Read volunteering with the Meals on Wheels program. She counts lunch bags and packs meals for delivery to homebound older adults. Once the meals are on their way, Beth plates and serves lunches to those who enjoy the Daily Lunch program. Since May 2011, Beth, 28, has boarded a Novi Transportation vehicle for a ride to the Meadowbrook Activity Center to work her “shifts.” When Beth is not volunteering, she is working at McDonalds, hanging out with her favorite cousin also named Beth or doing fun, recreational activities as part of the “On My Own” social program.
Her favorite activities with “On My Own” are staff picnics and putt-putt golfing. Sister Geri Near, RSM, our site hostess from Western Oakland Meals on Wheels, shared that Beth “has her own sense of humor and
is great to have around.” Asked why she volunteers, she said, “I like all the people. I like to give back. I like helping with Meals on Wheels.”
A big thank you to Beth Read for sharing her time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
George and Caroline Giese
George and Caroline Giese
Program Hosts - Sing-A-Long with George and Caroline Giese
To call George age 88 and Caroline age 99, active volunteers in the Novi Community is an understatement. Since they signed-up 24 years ago, they have delivered meals to the homebound, plated lunches at special event luncheons and participated with the Novi Civic Theater since Kathy Crawford put together the first performance of what became the “Senior Show.” As Caroline says, “We do not stay in the house.” Social activities are a big part of what they do. With the opening of the Novi Senior Center in 2001, they became hosts of the monthly Sing-A-Long program. George plays the piano, Caroline leads the chorus and everyone has a grand time singing their hearts out. George has also lent his talents by singing the National Anthem at Memorial Ceremonies following Novi’s Parade and at the opening day festivities of the Kensington Valley Senior Softball League. George and Caroline encourage everyone to get out and about and volunteer.
A big thank you to George and Caroline for sharing their time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
"Novi Needlers" Quilting Group
The "Novi Needler's" Volunteer Quilting Group
Since it’s founding in 1995, giving back to the community has the been the mission of the Novi Needlers. Started by Jan McAlpine, the former OLHSA Senior Coordinator along with Jo Bangothe group’s first coordinator, the 14 active members meet the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month in the Craft Room of the Meadowbrook Activity Center. The Novi Needlers work together, spending thousands of hours over the past 19 years, to create wonderful, hand-made quilts. Hundreds of one of kind quilts have been donated to the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor, Providence Park Hospital, Assarian Cancer Center, Catholic Social Services and Sinai Grace Hospital to provide comfort to patients. Being part of the Novi Needlers provides a creative and social outlet for members. Their bi-monthly meetings are an opportunity to share their finished quilts, learn new techniques from each other and have fun while doing what they love - quilting. New members and donations of cotton quilting fabric are always welcome. Carole Gatrell is the group's current coordinator.
Thank you Novi Needlers for sharing your time and talents with the Novi Community.
Audrey Cartwright / Program Host - Panera & Pals
Program Host - Panera & Pals
Audrey Cartwright, who turns 90 in July, is a Program Host for the Panera and Pals program. With a smile and a warm greeting, Audrey has energetically helped to distribute all the yummy baked goods donated by Panera Bread for 8 years. She loves to meet all the people who come to pick-up bakery treats and stay to enjoy a cup of coffee. She says, “It’s just like a coffee house on Tuesday mornings.”
Audrey started volunteering about 14 years ago as a volunteer office assistant for Kathy Crawford, at a time when all activities for older adults took place at the Novi Civic Center. She liked to help with office activities like filing, and copying. Audrey has lived in Novi for 38 years. She says, There’s “no greater place than here.” The youngest of her four sons loves to tell people about his 89 old year Mom who is still actively volunteering. A big thank you to Audrey for sharing her time and talents with the City of Novi by volunteering with Older Adult Services.
John Anderson / Program Host - Duplicate Bridge
Program Host - Duplicate Bridge
John Anderson has been Novi’s Duplicate Bridge Coordinator for approximately 10 years. Under John’s welcoming and expert guidance, the 21-year old bridge program continues to thrive and attract as many as 80 bridge players every Friday to the Novi Civic Center. John’s interest and passion may be attributed back to his parents who were very involved with bridge groups for many, many years. Having a quality card program takes time and John’s conscientiousness week after week ensures that the scores are always tabulated and prizes awarded. This long-standing popular program has greatly benefitted from John’s attention, and the participants and staff are so grateful.
He is a University of Michigan Business Administration graduate, Class of 1953 and worked for Ford Motor Company for 35 years. Some of his interests include sports, stained glass craftsmanship and politics. He has served as a Republican delegate to the National Committee. Always a hometown fan, John cheers on all our Detroit sports teams as well as the Wolverines. His most important love and priority is his family starting with his wife, Terry, and extending to his five children and thirteen grandchildren.