FOREVER YOUNG A Town-Crier Publication
Celebrating the 50-Plus Community of the Palm Beaches
Lifestyle Magazine November 2011
The Volunteer Issue Seniortopia Looks At Ways To Help Out
INSIDE Royal Palm Beachâ€™s Marjorie Schleifer Resort-Style Senior Living At Fountainview Volunteers Help Out At Local Theaters Jan Norris Joins Meals On Wheels
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November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 3
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YOUR GUIDE TO THIS MONTH’S ISSUE
Marjorie Schleifer Enjoys Her Volunteer Work Giving back to the community is second nature for 89-year-old Marjorie Schleifer of Royal Palm Beach. She works for her church, does projects with the Young at Heart Club and is a life member of CAFCI. BY JESSICA GREGOIRE
Published as a supplement to the Nov. 4, 2011 edition of the Town-Crier
Publisher Barry S. Manning Executive Editor Joshua I. Manning Associate Publisher Dawn Rivera
Resort-Style Senior Living At Fountainview Fountainview is a resort-style senior living community in West Palm Beach offering a variety of amenities for seniors looking for a comfortable and relaxed living arrangement. The facility offers both independentliving and assisted-living sections. BY JESSICA GREGOIRE
14 Many Senior Volunteers Help Out At The PBSO Citizens Observer Patrol officers — known as COPs — are the most visible members of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s Volunteer Services Unit, but they’re only one cog in an international award-winning machine, featured as part of our volunteerthemed Seniortopia section this month. BY CHRIS FELKER
18 Volunteers The Heart And Soul Of Local Theaters Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Lake Worth Playhouse and a big part of the success enjoyed by the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. This month, we interview several theater volunteers and discover what motivates them to serve. BY CHRIS FELKER
25 Food Expert Norris Volunteers To Fight Hunger Jan Norris is a busy independent journalist who has her own food-related web site, but she still volunteers some of her time each week to help feed the needy through Meals on Wheels. BY CHRIS FELKER
On The Cover
‘Celebrating the 50-Plus Community of the Palm Beaches’
Project Editor Chris Felker Senior Editors Jason Budjinski Ron Bukley Art & Production Manager Stephanie Rodriguez Bookkeeping Carol Lieberman Account Managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Wanda Glockson Contributors Denise Fleischman Jessica Gregoire Lauren Miró Joe Nasuti Abner Pedraza Deborah Welky Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine
is published by Newspaper Publisher s Inc. 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suit e 31 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.foreveryounglifestylemagazine.com Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly as a supplement to the Town-Crier newspaper. Copyright 2011, all rights reser ved by Newspaper Publishers Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.
Wellington Citizens Observer Patrol volunteers Seymour and Rhoda Zenlea, featured in our volunteer-themed Senior topia section. PHOTO BY ABNER PEDRAZA November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 5
FOREVER YOUNG PROFILE
Royal Palm Beach’s Marjorie Schleifer Enjoys Providing Service As A Volunteer BY JESSICA GREGOIRE | Forever Young Staff Report
GIVING BACK to the community comes easily for 89-year-old Marjorie Schleifer. She has been serving the community of Royal Palm Beach for many years through volunteering and participating in various local and national organizations. Born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, Schleifer immigrated to the United States at the age of 29. “I came here first and got a job and a place,” she recalled. “And a year later, my husband and children came.” Schleifer lived in Washington, D.C., for three decades with her husband and two children. “I loved Washington, D.C.,” Schleifer said. “I had such a lovely job there.” For more than 30 years, Schleifer worked for the National Education Association, a teachers’ organization more than a century old. As a former employee of the association, Schleifer strongly believes in the importance of education and the arts, and has volunteered most of her time to enhancing these efforts. But she does not limit herself; Schleifer has always been compelled to volunteer her time anywhere that’s needed. She began volunteering in Washington with various organizations such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she gave her time for 17 years. Schleifer was also a member of the National Education Association Retirees Organization. “I have always loved teachers,” Schleifer said. “But nowadays, teachers are not being appreciated.” Schleifer and her husband, Leonard,
moved to Royal Palm Beach 26 years ago after she retired. “I came to Florida because my husband wanted to move back to Jamaica, but I did not want to go back to Jamaica at all,” Schleifer said. “I said to him, ‘I am now a citizen of this country.’” Schleifer’s husband decided to stay in Florida with her, and became a U.S. citizen himself. After Schleifer moved to Florida, she decided to look for a local organization to join. “When I came down here, I needed something to do because I was so used to volunteering in Washington, D.C.,” Schleifer said. “I looked around and found one called Young at Heart, which I’m still a member of today.” As a member of the Royal Palm Beach Young at Heart Club, a social activities club for senior citizens, Schleifer gets to go on trips with other seniors. “We visit members who are sick or call them up to see how they’re doing,” Schleifer said. Schleifer is also a member of Caribbean Americans for Community Involvement (CAFCI), a nonprofit organization promoting community service in Royal Palm Beach. “I’m a life member,” Schleifer said. “And I’m on the list that visits the sick and sends them cards if they are in the hospital.” Schleifer served for many years as a board member for the Crestwood Performing Arts League, also known as C-PAL, a nonprofit organization which provided culture and the arts to the Royal Palm Beach community. She was nominated for its hall of fame because of her many years of service. “I
paid my dues and sold tickets in the ticket office for 25 years,” Schleifer recalled. With nonprofits hard hit by the downturn, C-PAL was a casualty of the recent recession. “I was so sorry to see it end,” she said. Schleifer often reminisces about her years spent volunteering with C-PAL. “I had many different people working with me in the ticket office on Sunday evenings, and I enjoyed it,” she recalled. Schleifer believes that the discontinuation of C-PAL was a major mistake. “I’m just so mad that they got rid of it,” she said. “We need something like that in Royal Palm Beach. We would put on lovely concerts and ballets, and we would go on bus trips to see performances … I just love the opera, and I love seeing shows, but I don’t do it as much since my husband died.” Schleifer is also active in her church, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, at Belvedere and Haverhill. “When I joined that church, I was the only black person,” Schleifer said. “And they invited me to join the church because it was pure white, and I have been a member for 26 years.” At her church, Schleifer assists in any way she can, from doing scripture readings to becoming a member of the church club, the Order of the Daughters of the King. “It’s a women’s group founded in 1885,” she explained. “We do prayers and acts of service, and we help the sick and the poor.” As much as Schleifer enjoys volunteering her time, she has had to reduce
‘Volunteering is such a wonderful thing to do because it keeps me active,’ Marjorie Schleifer said. ‘And I get to meet some of the seniors who need someone to talk with or listen to them.’ Page 6 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
Marjorie Schleif er has been serving the community of Royal Palm Beach for three decades through her volunteer work. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM STAFF
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 7
FOREVER YOUNG PROFILE
Marjorie Schleif er at her RPB home. Heart surger y has weakened her in recent months, but she looks forward to getting back to volunteer w ork. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM S TAFF
her activities because of her poor health. “Recently, the doctors found out that my heart was weak,” she said. “So they put a stent in one of my arteries, which has made me very tired lately, but I’m recovering very nicely.” Schleifer’s weak heart and surgery have drawn down her capacity to do much of the activities she used to. “I have cut back on most of what I used to do, and I have not been volunteering lately,” she said. This has been hard for her because she is typically an extremely active person. “I can’t drive now, but I have had some very good friends over these past couple of months,” Schleifer said. “And they help me as
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much as they can.” Although she is taking it easy until she gets better, Schleifer is anxious to return to her volunteering work. “Volunteering is such a wonderful thing to do because it keeps me active,” she said. “And I get to meet some of the seniors who need someone to talk with or listen to them on a dull evening when they are alone.” Schleifer is also mourning the loss of her only daughter, J. Amanayea Abraham, who passed away in April of this year. “I really miss her. She came to live with me after my husband died,” Schleifer said. “I thought that she would be the one to bury me, but it turned out to be the other way around.” FY
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FOREVER YOUNG FEATURE
Fountainview Offers Resort-Style Senior Living With All The Amenities STORY AND PHOTOS BY JESSICA GREGOIRE | Forever Young Staff Report
FOUNTAINVIEW IS a resort-style senior rental community with independent and assisted-living apartments and efficiencies. The facility is located in West Palm Beach, off Congress Avenue. It offers a variety of amenities for seniors looking for a comfortable and relaxed living arrangement. “I enjoy my life here,” said resident Morris Margel, who’s also president of the residents’ council. “But for the most part, I enjoy the people and the camaraderie here.” The 24-hour gated community is situated on 12 acres of well-maintained grounds with four independent living buildings and one large assisted living building. The community currently has more than 300 residents — single people and couples. Fountainview has a diverse population of residents; 40 percent are male and 60 percent female, said Marketing Manager Nina Gfesser. “Our residents get to mingle and see people from many walks of life,” she said. “They all have interesting backgrounds.” For resident Francisca Benitez, the fascinating mix of people is what attracted her to Fountainview. “You’re near a lot of interesting people,” she said. “I meet really smart people, and I learn a lot from them.” Even her granddaughter was fascinated by the eclectic blend of residents. “When she came to visit me, she said: ‘Grandma, you have so many interesting people living here. I met Mr. Pep-
per,’ a guy who is a really famous football player.” The clubhouse is the center of the community. Many amenities and actives are offered there. It includes a large pool with a whirlpool spa and cabana areas. Fountainview strives to make living there easy and convenient for seniors by having a pharmacy, beauty salon, barbershop and a library. Seniors are able to keep up with their physical health in the fully equipped, state-of-the-art exercise room. The clubhouse includes a library with books, magazines, newspapers and computers with Internet access. The library provides computer access to residents, such as Ann de Rivera, who don’t have computers in their apartments. Their family members are also able to use the library computers. “This way she does not even have to have a computer in her room,” de Rivera’s daughter Diane Leydig said. There is also a physical therapy room with a licensed physical therapist available. The clubhouse pharmacy makes prescription deliveries to residents. There are a variety of apartments available for seniors, whether they are couples or singles. Each apartment is fully furnished with a light and calming decor, and includes a kitchen, bathroom and the option of a one-bedroom, two-bedroom or efficiency-style layout. Fountainview is a pet-friendly community, which is a rarity for senior liv-
ing communities. For Margel, that aspect was a major priority. “I have a little dog,” he said. “And this was the only place that would accept animals.” Residents also have the option of taking their dogs to a dog park on the premises, Gfesser said. “They can let their dogs run through the dog park because there is a lot of green space,” she said. Fountainview offers a variety of activities for seniors, from daily card and bingo games to seasonal parties open to the public. “We keep ourselves busy here,” said Margel. “You can do something every minute of the day if you choose to.” The best way to fully enjoy Fountainview is to get involved and participate in the many activities available, Margel said. “They have exercises in the morning, they have parties, professional entertainment and shows three times a week, and I attend all of them,” he said. Fountainview understands that today’s seniors want to be active and enjoy life. “Just because you’re old does not mean you have stopped living,” Margel said. Many of the activities revolve around getting seniors involved and active, especially for new residents who need to meet people. The clubhouse also includes a large dining area that serves a variety of menu items each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has a staff of
Fountainview is a pet-friendly community, which is a rarity for senior living communities. For Morris Margel, that aspect was a major priority. ‘I have a little dog,’ he said. ‘And this was the only place that would accept animals.’ Page 10 • F orever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
(Above) Foutainview residents Florence Gerringer, Dorothy McDonald, Morris Margel, Rose Markow, Francisca Benitez and Marie Bonstetter. (Right) Hy Chait, Betty Gilber t, Bob Kardos and Jim Friedman enjoy a meal. (Below) A look at the view.
November 2011 â€˘ F orever Young Lifestyle Magazine â€˘ Page 11
FOREVER YOUNG FEATURE servers who wait on the residents to make their eating experience exceptional. Sandra Bellin is appreciative of the friendly kitchen staff. “These are the people who make Fountainview so magnificent and keep us happy,” she said. “They go back and forth for a container of ketchup.”
New resident Ann de Rivera with her daughter, Diane Leydig.
Fountainview offers a transportation service for residents to go anywhere they need to. The transportation service provides a bus, car or shuttle with daily scheduled times or personal pickups. For residents who don’t own a car or can’t drive, the transportation service is a great resource. “They have bus services to take you shopping, to the bank, the doctor’s office and basically anywhere you want to go,” Margel said. Many of the residents attribute Fountainview’s great atmosphere to the friendly residents and staff. “Everyone here is friendly and treats you nice,” Benitez said. “And I feel good living here because of the people.” Gfesser and the administrative staff listen to all the residents’ needs and take these needs into account when making plans and activities for them, Margel said. “She really listens to us
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and is always out here with us,” he explained. “If any of the residents need anything, I’m the one who has to call her up and let her know what the residents want. And she lets the others working in the back offices know how we feel.” Seniors who are interested in Fountainview’s resort-style living can try seasonal renting or rent a furnished apartment for one month. “If somebody is thinking of senior living, they can come and try it without selling their home and see if they like the lifestyle,” Gfesser said. “We provide the meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, great housekeeping, basic cable, local phone service. All of those things are included in their rent.” Fountainview is located at 111 Executive Center Drive in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 697-5500 or visit www.fountain viewretirement.com. FY
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 13
HELPING YOU CREATE YOUR PERSONAL 50-PLUS PARADISE
Senior Volunteers Help Out As Extra Eyes And Ears For The Sheriff’s Office BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report MOST PEOPLE READILY recognize the volunteers who supplement the ranks of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office because they’ve seen the “COPs” — Citizens Observer Patrol officers — in their marked compact cars with their green-and-orange flashers, patrolling the neighborhood or perhaps diverting traffic around a crash scene. The Volunteer Services Unit of the PBSO has grown from its beginnings with a handful of officers and a few patrol cars in 1989. Today, a brigade of almost 3,500 volunteers patrol the streets and waterways of this vast county by bicycle, car, horse and boat, making up a comprehensive, awardwinning program. Southern district volunteer Cmdr. Carol Lawrence noted that the Volunteer Services Unit this year garnered top international recognition: It won the Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs trophy, bestowed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. On Friday, Sept. 30, Lawrence was at Curry Park in West Palm Beach, meeting her administrative lieutenant, Ralph Moccia, and marine unit member Richard Hamer with the district’s boat, VM-11, which had been towed there. “The boat is out of commission,” she explained; its engine failed during patrol near Peanut Island. It was being loaded on a trailer destined for the sheriff ’s shop on Gun Club Road for maintenance. On a normal Friday, Moccia would
have been out patrolling the Intracoastal and ocean waters out of Boynton Inlet Park. The sheriff ’s Volunteer Marine Unit has four boats; others operate out of Riviera Beach and from Tropic Harbor Breeze in Delray Beach, and the fourth is a lake boat, used alternately on Lake Ida, Lake Osborne, local canals and, occasionally, Lake Okeechobee. Moccia, 66, a retired auto dealership executive who lives in western Boynton Beach, is also a Rover Bike Patrol member who is out “seven days a week, weather permitting” when he’s not on the boat or in the Cresthaven office helping Lawrence with administrative tasks. He takes his car out to an assigned area with his bicycle on the back, and meets a deputy for patrols that go from 3 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. He patrols mostly in residential areas where property crimes have become a problem, but volunteers are never sent into high-crime areas. “In the past three years,” Moccia said, “I’ve usually averaged 1,800 to 2,100 hours of volunteer service per year.” Moccia has been a volunteer for five years this month. “Last year, I had 2,028 hours; 14 hours more and I would have equaled a full-time employee’s time,” he said. Moccia noted that he serves as a Boynton marine unit coxswain, a British term used because “captain” might make people think Moccia is a regular-duty officer. Moccia takes a crew of two people
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with him on boat duty. From about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., they patrol the Intracoastal and canals, and stand by to help whenever the sheriff’s marine unit might call for assistance to aid a grounded boater, a swimmer or a diver disabled in the water, or other emergencies. The unit is also part of the manatee rescue program during manatee season. Volunteer Richard Seafer, 71, is captain of the district’s Rover units and has been working with the program since 2003. His 34 volunteers patrol a 35-square-mile area of west Boca, frequenting parks, shopping centers, strip malls, schools and houses of worship, and putting in more than 600 patrol hours per month. About half of the units concentrate on parking enforcement, keeping handicapped parking spots and fire lanes clear. “We have really dedicated people,” Seafer said. “I have people here who work full-time and still volunteer. I got involved because I wanted to give back to the community. I think most of the volunteers do. We’re just another set of eyes and ears for the sheriff ’s department.” Seafer’s level of dedication to his role is common among the ranks of volunteers. Lawrence is one of four commanders under Volunteer Services Unit Col. Erik Fahnoe; the others supervise the central county, north county and specialty units. Volunteers help in a wide variety of other ways, too. There’s the Volunteer
Emergency Response Team, the Parking Enforcement Specialists, the Honor Guard, Special Events staff, Parks Patrol, the Crime Prevention Unit, Rover Units, Traffic Monitors, Dispatchers, Administrative Volunteers, and the Mounted, Airport and Media units, whose members perform an even greater range of roles. Volunteers also serve in administrative departments across the agency, from Vehicle Maintenance to the Crime Lab to assisting deputies. And some volunteers — the Type A personalities like Lawrence, Moccia and Richard Gonzalez of Wellington — mix it up. Lawrence, for example, is also a dispatcher, which explains the Blackberry constantly at her ear. “We have our own dispatch unit, separate from PBSO. Anything the COP is doing, it comes through dispatch,” she said. “Everything revolves around the safety of the members.”
Richard Seafer receives the “Volunteer of the Month” award from Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
Ralph Moccia readies VM11 for a trip to the sheriff’s mo tor pool for maintenance as Carol Lawrence watches. PHOTO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 15
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE So all the patrol officers radio in, if they’ve stopped to assist a motorist, the “tag, location and color of the car,” Lawrence said, to ensure that it hasn’t been reported stolen or fleeing from a hit-and-run, for example. Gonzalez leads the Wellington COP. He is responsible for overseeing and scheduling the 13 officers who cover all of Wellington. Wellington is divided into seven zones, and Gonzalez schedules the patrols so that the volunteer teams are in a different area each day and in a different rotation of zones every three months. This way, all areas get approximately equal coverage, and the officers don’t get bored with the same scenery all the time. At 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, Gonzalez was meeting up with anoth(Below) COP volunteer leader Richar d Gonzalez gets ready for a patrol through Wellington. PHO TO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM S TAFF
er unit to give instructions before they would leave for patrol from the village’s old municipal complex at 14000 Greenbriar Blvd., which is being remodeled to serve as Wellington’s new PBSO substation. He was headed for a four-hour drive around Zone 2A, which is inside the sprawling Olympia neighborhood at the corner of Forest Hill Blvd. and State Road 7 — a “little city unto itself,” Gonzalez noted. Each volunteer team is given a map of its zone to patrol; normally, each driver has a “navigator.” But that morning, I rode along as his passenger. “I’ve been at this so many years that now I don’t need the map to tell me where to go,” Gonzalez said. In most subdivisions, officers just keep turning right until they’ve covered every street, driving at 10 to 15 miles per hour to allow for close observation. “Our job is just to observe and re-
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port if necessary,” Gonzalez explained. “We’re not equipped to do anything else. If there’s trouble, [deputies] just want us to get the hell away.” Although the volunteer officers are covered by worker’s compensation insurance, their main concern, he said, “is always safety — our own.” Now 84, Gonzalez was a traveling salesman most of his life. He’s been a sheriff’s volunteer for 16 years next March. “I like doing this. You meet many new people and talk to a lot of them,” he said, “and most folks are very appreciative of what we do.” He noted, however, that more volunteers are definitely needed. “We ask people to go out three times a week” in Wellington, he said, “but because of the shortage of officers, we go out four or more times.” When he joined in 1995, Gonzalez said, he was answering a newspaper ad calling for volunteers. Nowadays, according to Lawrence, the Volunteer
Services Unit is so well-known that many people just show up at the sheriff’s office to volunteer and are redirected to the Cresthaven office. They’ll then undergo a background check and take a three-hour introductory class, be quizzed about their skills and preferences and then attend 12 hours of training by a field training officer before becoming certified members of what has become the world’s best volunteer law enforcement organization, Lawrence explained. For more information about volunteering for the PBSO, visit the Volunteer Services Unit at 2601 S. Military Trail in West Palm Beach, call (561) 433-2003, or e-mail volunteer email@example.com. FY (Right) Wellington COP leader Richard Gonzalez (center) with Seymour and Rhoda Zenlea. PHOTO BY ABNER PEDRAZA/FYLM STAFF
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 17
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE
Volunteers Are The Heart And Soul Of Palm Beach Area’s Theatrical Venues BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report
MANY OF THE AREA’S theatrical venues depend heavily on the theater aficionados who donate their time to help keep Palm Beach County’s cultural landscape so rich. At the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and at the Lake Worth Playhouse, those in charge of their volunteer corps say these people are indispensable. How could they not be at a place like the Lake Worth Playhouse, where even the actors and musicians are unpaid and there only because they want to be? Artistic Director Jodie Dixon-Mears said the theater wouldn’t exist without its legions of volunteers who play crucial roles in every area — performing, building sets, designing and making costumes, stage managing, operating the light and sound boards, manning the backstage running crew, ushering, providing administrative support, assisting with parties or events, helping with marketing outreach efforts and working on beautification projects. “The Lake Worth Playhouse has over 250 volunteers,” Executive Director Stephanie Smith said. “Volunteers are integral to what we do here. They are the very essence of every performance.” Judith Johnson, box office and group sales manager, oversees ticket sellers, ticket takers, concessions workers and ushers. “We have over 180 volunteer ushers and concessionaires, and honestly we could not continue to offer the service
that we do if not for them,” Johnson said. “They’re just fabulous. A lot of them are retired individuals or professionals who want to stay active in the community theater.” Johnson’s volunteers gather an hour before each show, either at 1 p.m. for matinees or 7 p.m. for evening shows, and are at the theater for at least four hours. “They are very knowledgeable of the theater and any special events that we have throughout the year, so they’re like our ambassadors when they leave the theater,” Johnson noted. She added that many of the Lake Worth Playhouse’s volunteers also work at other theaters in the area, so they also know about other shows taking place around town. Technical Director Steve Graybill makes use of many volunteers for set construction and other tasks related to staging and setup. He echoed Johnson about how important these people are in providing the right backdrop for each play or show. Bill Knapp, 68, of Lake Worth is a semi-retired construction management veteran and one of the Lake Worth Playhouse’s longest-serving volunteers. Since 1978, he’s done just about all the jobs that there are to do in the theater, from set design and construction, backstage and technical work to running the lights. His main role recently has been to operate the “follow spot,” used when, for example, the lead actor in a musical sings a number while moving about onstage. Graybill, 26, said the volunteers who
work for him are extremely helpful and that he’s come to depend on their assistance. He cited one as an example — a lady named M.A. Knoke, a retired schoolteacher and snowbird. “She comes down and helps me a lot,” he said. “She helps me with building the sets, helps me to stay organized and helps me clean my shop.” Graybill said the number of volunteers who work with him varies widely. “There are weeks when nobody comes,” he lamented. But Graybill started having Saturday “workdays” before show openings, when he asks cast members to alert family members and friends that he needs help, and then he might get a dozen to 15 people come and help. Maureen Gardella is director of guest services at the Kravis Center, which is now in its 20th anniversary season. She and her staff direct the more than 600 volunteers, mostly ushers, who make that venue such a hospitable place. About 95 percent of the volunteers are retirees, and 35 to 40 are on duty for every show. “Every year, our volunteer ushers have to come back, and we do a little get-together, recertification-type thing, and they’re tested annually,” Gardella said. Although the Kravis actually maintains a waiting list for people who want to join the volunteer ranks, Gardella said, “We do an orientation every September where anyone who’s interested in volunteering here comes in. We usually get a couple of hundred people, and all the departments that use
‘The Lake Worth Playhouse has over 250 volunteers,’ Executive Director Stephanie Smith said. ‘Volunteers are integral to what we do here. They are the very essence of every performance.’ Page 18 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
(Above) Lake Worth Playhouse volunteer Susan Emley takes tickets at the door. (Right) Ushers Barbara and Jerome Cohen show guests to their seats. (Below right) Longtime Lake Worth Playhouse volunteer Bill Knapp mans the spotlight. PHOTOS BY LAUREN MIRÓ AND CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF
volunteers speak to them about what the opportunities are.” If selected to join the volunteer ranks, they must return for an eighthour class and pass a test. The ushers do a lot more than just guide patrons to their seats; they are schooled in the Americans With Disabilities Act requirements and have to be prepared to handle any incidents, and, especially, to evacuate the hall in the event of an emergency. The Kravis Center gives each usher a 30-page guidebook outlining procedures and rules. Rita Bjork of West Palm Beach has ushered every Friday night since the performing-arts venue opened. A 34year breast cancer survivor, now 78, she said that when the Kravis Center opened and she saw her first show there, “I said, ‘This is for me.’ It has just been a wonderful education in the performing arts for me. I took training in a September and have worked every Friday night since. And so I see everything — ballet, opera, Broadway November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 19
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE
Director of Guest Ser vices Maureen Gardella runs the Kravis Center’s corps of 600 volunteers. PHO TO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM S TAFF
shows, concerts — things that I thought I would never go and see.” For Bjork, volunteering at the Kravis Center provides an escape from the outside world. “When I walk through those glass doors, I forget about all my own personal problems,” she said. “There’s a magic to the theater … and so that all that I give, I am given, because when you see an older audience come in, and they forget all about their own troubles for two hours, this is the magic of the theater.” Bjork, a former teacher, also leads backstage tours. “I never knew all the effort that it took to put on a show, and I think that when our guests take a backstage tour,
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they see what our people back of house do, besides what they see in the front. It’s just wonderful to see this in our own community,” she said. Jack Linden of Boynton Beach, who just turned 85, has volunteered at the Kravis Center for 14 years, since his wife became ill and died. “I had to do something, so I tried a few different things, and the thing I loved the most was volunteering at Kravis Center,” he said. Linden said he has seen thousands of shows in that time, adding that last year alone, he attended about 120 different events. Linden works hospitality in the Founders Room, in addition to ushering.
“I tell you, it’s a lifeline because it’s a good activity, and not only do you get to see a lot of the different shows, you also meet a lot of great people up there who are also retired, plain ordinary people, and it’s interesting to hear about their experiences,” he said. “It has been wonderful for my health; it keeps me going.” Selma Rudnick-Waters of Wellington has been involved at the Kravis Center so long, she remembers stuffing envelopes soliciting donations in the basement of what is now the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. “I started volunteering before the building was dedicated, so it has been well over 20 years,” she said. “We used
to take people into the theater before it was dedicated in hardhats, as a tour.” She ushers, works in the Founders Room and keeps the record books of volunteers’ attendance and performance. “I love theater, I’m a master’s degree graduate in music education, so music and the theater are very dear to me,” she said. Rudnick-Waters, who usually works Saturday night shows, is in her early 80s and said volunteering has kept her on her toes. “I look forward to it, and you have to keep yourself in pretty good shape because you have to be on your feet a couple of hours,” she said. “I find that the people are very gracious, and they’re
Kravis volunteers Jack Linden (left) and Rita Bjork (right).
very courteous, and I enjoy my cohorts.” For more on volunteering at the Kravis Center, visit www.kravis.org/volunteer or call (561) 651-4294. To volunteer at the Lake Worth Playhouse, stop by the theater at 713 Lake Ave. in Lake
Worth, call Johnson at (561) 586-6410 or visit www. lakeworthplayhouse.org/ volunteer. For those interested specifically in technical, backstage or set-building roles, e-mail Graybill directly at stevetd@lakeworth playhouse.org. FY
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 21
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE
Volunteering Isn’t Just A Great Idea, It Provides Important Health Benefits BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report
IF YOU GOOGLE “health benefits of volunteering,” you’ll get millions of results in a few hundredths of a second. We did have a clue that doing volunteer work was good for you when we chose this topic for the pre-holiday, preseason run-up here at Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine. But in checking out the wide range of health benefits — physical and psychological — of helping our fellow human beings, we were very impressed. How does giving of your time and energy to help your fellow Earth passengers improve your own life’s voyage? To find out, we checked out some of those online resources, asked a local expert and spoke to volunteers themselves. Have you ever heard of the Corporation for National & Community Service? Neither had I. But it’s what I found when I went looking for AmeriCorps, and this “official web site of the U.S. government” (www.national service.gov) contains a trove of information about volunteerism in the United States. AmeriCorps itself has been around for two decades as a sort of domestic offshoot of the Peace Corps. It is an arm of the Corporation for National & Community Service. Here are the first few sentences of a AmeriCorps press release: “Volunteers help themselves to better health while helping others,” according to a study by the Corporation for National & Community Service that reviews a compelling collection of scientific re-
search. “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health,” the press release continues. The study summarized: “A growing body of research indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. … Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Comparisons of the health benefits of volunteering for different age groups have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, whether because they are more likely to face higher incidence of illness or because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing. Some of these findings also indicate that volunteers who devote a ‘considerable’ amount of time to volunteer activities (about 100 hours per year) are most likely to exhibit positive health outcomes.” That certainly has been true for Rita Bjork, 78, of West Palm Beach. She volunteers at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts every Friday night and said her work there has helped in her 34-year recovery from breast cancer. Bjork remembered that in 1977, “I was in a hospital in New York City, and the woman in the room next to me was playing this wonderful music on
the radio. It made me feel good. And I have listened to public radio since then, and I have found that good music has helped me heal. I work shows, yes, but there’s an immediate reward when I do it, because laughter is the best healer there is, the best stress reliever there is.” Carol VanDusen of Palm Beach Psychological Associates in Wellington validates that volunteer work helps older people adjust to a life without a house full of kids or a career job to go to every day. “It is important to all ages in my estimation to give back, but especially people who have retired who find themselves at loose ends and not having a purpose,” VanDusen said, “especially those who have worked all their lives and identify themselves that way.” Many people have trouble figuring out where they fit in once they retire. Volunteering helps give them a purpose. “Volunteering not only makes you feel good, but it helps you to feel that you’re useful,” VanDusen said. “It not only helps the people that you’re focusing on, but it gives you the benefit of knowing that ‘my life still has meaning.’” Does she prescribe volunteerism to those suffering from depression or dealing with issues arising with retirement and aging? “Absolutely. Anything that they can do to raise their mood. We rely a great deal on medication these days because it does help,
‘It is important to all ages in my estimation to give back, but especially people who have retired who find themselves at loose ends and not having a purpose,” said Carol VanDusen of Palm Beach Psychological Associates, ‘especially those who have worked all their lives and identify themselves that way.’ Page 22 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
but people must also help themselves, they can’t just expect the medication to do it all,” VanDusen said. “That’s why we recommend therapy in conjunction with medication. It is important for your self-evaluation to be positive when you’re feeling useless.” Volunteering offers benefits for people of all ages. “Even some of the teenagers who find themselves without purpose or feel like they don’t fit in, I very often will advise them to get involved in something that interests them,” VanDusen said. “A lot of times that means maybe helping out at the animal shelter or being a Big Sister/Big Brother, those kinds of things.” For retirees, VanDusen
Members of the Wellington Seniors Club held a luncheon meeting on Sep t. 21 at the Wellington Community Center. Special guests were volunteers from the Wellington Quilters Bee, who displayed their originally designed Quilts for Veterans on stage and at a table during the meeting. PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN/FYLM STAFF
said: “I kind of think it gives a new phase, and part of the them a new sense of pur- new phase remains feeling pose. Now they have to find useful.”
Volunteerism, she advised, “lifts your mood. It juices you up.” FY
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 23
FOREVER YOUNG FEATURE
Local Seniors Attend Health Fair At The Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report
ABOUT 200 LOCAL seniors, residents of assisted-living facilities, caregivers and other interested people attended a “Senior Day” staged by REAL — Residential Experts of Assisted Living — at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center on Friday, Sept. 23. Kelly Wilson of Senior Living Guide, a REAL adviser, organized the event, which was meant to showcase local health and wellness providers as well as senior-oriented businesses in a casual, fun atmosphere. About a dozen of them had tables set up, and eight assisted-living facilities brought some of their residents. Event participants enjoyed a catered
luncheon with entertainment by singer C.J. Bell. Her renditions of popular oldies and Broadway numbers even got some folks dancing in front of the stage. Pharmacists from Walgreens administered flu shots, and Palms West Hospital had professionals conducting blood pressure screenings. Other agencies and businesses represented included the Sigma Institute of Health Careers, Senior Living Guide, the Area Agency on Aging, Hospice by the Sea, Hospice of Palm Beach County, Nostalgic America magazine, Assisted Living Services, Re-MMAP (Real Estate/Money Management/Asset Protection), Christian Manor Apartments, Amerigroup (a
healthcare company), American ElderCare (a home healthcare agency) and VITAS (a hospice care provider). Two raffles were conducted, with each vendor contributing items to be given out as prizes. REAL’s mission, said President Lauristol Simms, is to connect small assisted-living facilities and residential care homes, with an emphasis on offering educational, professional resource and networking opportunities, and reaching out to share their information with local communities. The group hosts monthly luncheons, educational workshops that offer continuing education credits, and other special events such as the health fair. FY
Jeannie Cole has her blood pressure measured by Nancy Rabin of Palms West Hospital.
Participants enjoy a catered lunch.
Kelly Wilson, Jessica Hernandez, Rose Wong, Denise Wasielewski, Dolly Hughes and Lauristol Simms.
Sandy Barch and Mary Jarett provide information about VITAS.
Page 24 • F orever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE
Food Expert Jan Norris Fights Hunger By Volunteering For Meals On Wheels STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report
JAN NORRIS’ LIFE is a whirlwind of activity — she has successfully rebranded herself as a busy independent journalist after a 25-year career at The Palm Beach Post — but she devotes a good chunk of each week to volunteering. Norris, 58, of Riviera Beach, has been giving of her time and energy for almost her entire life. “I’ve been volunteering since I was about 13. I used to ride my bike to a nursing home and read to residents. It was so rewarding — they really appreciated you — some even gave you little tips and gifts,” she recalled. Norris used to collect for the March of Dimes as well, and organized many an auction of books, CDs and various items that had been given to Post staffers, proceeds from which went to a wide variety of charities. She has also been a volunteer with the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, and
the most recent recipient of her efforts is Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, which addresses a need close to her heart — to quiet growling stomachs. Helping to quench hunger is a fitting cause since Norris was editor of the Post’s Food & Dining section for 21 years. She started her own web site, www.jannorris.com, the week after leaving in 2008, and now writes an extensive blog for “foodies” that includes restaurant news, recipes, chef interviews, cookbook and tool reviews, and more. “Those are basic to life — eating and reading,” Norris said. Hunger in America “is huge for me,” she added, noting that children can’t learn if they’re hungry or can’t read; adults can’t work if they don’t eat right or aren’t literate; and disabled people and homebound seniors can’t enjoy a decent quality of life if they don’t have at least one good, nutritious meal every day.
So this past summer, Norris decided to start volunteering a few days a week to deliver for Meals on Wheels’ program for homebound people and soon also began serving as an “expeditor,” helping set up the meals for other volunteers to collect for distribution. The group gathers each weekday morning in a room off the kitchen of Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach. There, Executive Chef Brenda Wade will have prepared full-course, hot meals for each person on the list, including drink and dessert. They’re placed in reusable, microwave- and oven-safe sealed trays, and the volunteers pack the food in thermal bags so they arrive hot. Chef Wade plans the menu, which varies daily and on a recent Tuesday included roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, green beans, a dinner roll and orange cream pie. Shortly after Norris arrived that day, Phyllis Jones and Ernie Pate, two volunteers who got involved through their church, Memorial Presbyterian, walked in with their coolers and bags, and Jane Lill, the program’s director of volunteer services, soon followed. As Lill and Norris rolled a cart into the kitchen to retrieve the 22 meals for the day’s deliveries, Jones and Pate went over the list. Then Carrie Craig came in; she’s the Community Assistance Team coordinator for the Palm Beach County FireRescue Community Alliance, Lill’s newest helper, who is training some of its members to join in the Meals on Wheels effort. About 120 or so meals go out each week, and each day’s deliveries are (Left) Jeanne Sturrock was happy to see Jan Norris and get her hot meal.
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 25
SENIORTOPIA: THE VOLUNTEER ISSUE
(Left) Good Samaritan Medical Center Ex ecutive Chef Brenda Wade prepares 1,200 meals a day, so the few dozen she makes for Meals on Wheels isn’t a big burden. (Right) Phyllis Jones double-checks her delivery list.
Page 26 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
divided into several routes; Lill produces a list with each client’s preferences and driving directions, grouping nearby homes to quicken deliveries. Within 20 minutes, the drivers leave after double-checking their cargo so recipients get the right items; their routes are designed to let them finish deliveries within an hour. Jones had eight trays destined for Christian Manor, an assisted-living facility, and Century Village; Pate had six homes on his list; and Norris was headed for five longer-term recipients’ homes. Norris said the program serves a fluctuating number of clients, “and these are not poverty-stricken people — they pay what they can.” Lill added that they are not necessarily all longterm disabled; some are just recovering from medical procedures and use the program only as long as they need to. Lill is always seeking more volunteers (there are 40-some now) — drivers, kitchen or office workers, admin-
istrative support staff and speakers to spread the word. Since the local Meals on Wheels chapter doesn’t receive government support, it also seeks contributors and corporate, business or organizational sponsors to cover expenses or to “Adopt-A-Route” by forming a volunteer pool to help as frequently as they want. Lill said the program just started locally in February and is limited for now to deliveries near the coast, but could expand with more manpower. Norris chimed in that she’d love to see more corporations and individuals pitch in to help. With the explosion in social media outlets and participation among the public, she said, “I’d like to see people step up via this method to do good. Instead of setting up flash mobs, do a ‘volunteer mob’ or a ‘meetup’ where it matters.” FY (Right) Carrie Craig of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue’s Community Alliance listens as Jane Lill goes over the day’s routes.
November 2011 • F orever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 27
MEMORY LANE BY JOE NASUTI
The Seventies: A Wild And Crazy Time
THE 1970S. Oh yes, I remember them well. And hopefully, I can jog your memory, too! It was an era like most, filled with some of the most incredible advances in modern times along with its share of tragic setbacks. The historical events of this decade included Watergate, Patty Hearst (the 19-year-old daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army), The Beatles’ breakup, the death of Elvis, Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home-run record, New York City’s blackout, Jimi Hendricks and Janis Joplin both dying drug-related deaths at age 27, Monday Night Football’s debut on ABC with Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith giving play-by-play. Some of the best movies in my lifetime hit the silver screen: Star Wars, M*A*S*H, Love Story , Airport, A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, Fiddler on the Roof, Saturday Night Fever and who can forget George C. Scott’s most memorable performance in Patton, or Marlon Brando’s in The Godfather! There were many fads in the 1970s. Pet Rocks were big. They would come in little boxes with little pieces of straw in the bottom of the box. And mood rings. Platform shoes and jogging suits were all the rage … and they still are? One of the best-known fads of all time Joe Nasuti is an entertainment columnist for the Town-Crier newspaper. His monthly Memory Lane columns feature memories from bygone days.
Monday Night Football hosts Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford.
was the art of “Telephone Booth Stuffing,” a college phenomenon across the nation and around the world, where several college students would squeeze themselves into a telephone booth, one after another, until no one else could fit in … I guess they never tired of stuffing Volkswagen Beetles from the ’60s! I guess another fad was throwing a brick through a TV sometime during Monday Night Football to shut up Howard Cosell … I remember that … All The Way! The ’70s were a great time in my life. I was still living in Philadelphia, enjoying Pat’s Steaks along with Ale House hand-carved roast beef sandwiches and, of course, Philly Pretzels … yum! Fun-filled summers at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City with my wife and three children. I started working for the Leukemia Society of Delaware and later for the Multiple Sclerosis Society in Philly. In 1972, I worked on Joe Biden’s first senatorial campaign, and have a unique sense of pride that I am partly responsible almost 40
years later that he is now vice president of the United States! I watched my children grow up, bought my first Cadillac and my “Summer Place” cottage in Sea Isle City. I went on my first Caribbean cruise on Costa’s Carla C, and my first trip to both Hawaii and Italy; those were some of the good times. My saddest moment was the loss of my 9-year-old niece Nicole to cancer; she was like my second daughter. Today, in her memory, I support the Quantum House on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center, which provides free housing and food for families whose children are in need of long-term care. We were housed during Nicole’s battle, and this is my special way to say thank you 34 years later! Well, that takes care of our stroll down Memory Lane. I hope it jogged your memory and brought some smiles to your face. Until next time, remember: We can’t help growing older, but we don’t have to grow up … so stay Forever Young! FY
The ’70s were a great time in my life. I was still living in Philadelphia, enjoying Pat’s Steaks along with Ale House hand-carved roast beef sandwiches and, of course, Philly Pretzels … yum! Page 28 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011
November 2011 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 29
SENIOR MOMENTS BY DEBORAH WELKY
Perhaps I’m Being Melodramatic, But What Was My Finger Trying To Tell Me? I’d pack my bags, that’s what I’d do. I’d empty my alTHIS MORNING when I woke up, I did what I always do: sat on the edge of my bed and stretched. I used to simply ready-empty bank account. I’d … I’d … well, maybe I’d hop out onto the floor, but then I read a snippet that said watch a little TV first. To his credit, Mark came home for lunch and walked it’s best if you get your bearings first. So now I sit there right over to me. He sat on the edge of the couch and clicked and stretch and yawn, and then I hop out. But this morning, tragedy struck. I sat on the edge of the off the TV. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I was on top of a ladder with a bed like always, but when I reached out my arms and splayed my fingers, one of the fingers wasn’t having it. It customer on the other line. The plumber was trying to get simply would not splay. It just sat there, bent and dorky- my attention because there was water squirting up where no water should’ve been squirting. The painters had just looking and obviously marching to a different drummer. I was staring at it with a perplexed look on my face when arrived and the interior designer wanted my opinion on a paint color. So I was somewhat it suddenly snapped into position. distracted. Tell me again about What was that? your arthritis.” Then it hit me — this must be “Look!” I screeched, somearthritis! I immediately called my what melodramatically, if I do husband at work. say so myself. “Just look at this!” “I have arthritis.” But now, of course, the stupid “Why are you calling me?” finger was fine. Mark took my “I have arthritis!” hand into his. “This finger?” he “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Join the asked, rubbing it gently. club.” “It wouldn’t straighten out!” I You know, I always suspected wailed. “This morning when I Mark might be hardhearted. I alwoke up, it was all gnarled and ways suspected he was cynical. I misshapen and useless and … always suspected he’d turn his and … and you’re going to leave back on me when the chips were me for a younger woman!” down. That “sickness and health” “Now, why would I do that?” thing? Forget it. The least he he asked quietly. “Just because could’ve done was drop his tool you’re getting older?” belt and rush home. Maybe take “Precisely!” me in his arms and rock me back “But I’m getting older, too. I and forth and whisper sweet noththought you promised to get oldings into my ear and coddle me. er with me.” But no. The handwriting was “Well, I didn’t think it would on the wall. It was only a matter be like this!” of time before he dumped me for “With one crooked finger? a younger woman, a woman The handwriting was on the wall. It was That straightens out as the day whose fingers splayed on command. I curled sadly into a cor- only a matter of time before he dumped goes on? I think you ought to start counting your blessings.” ner of the couch with a bag of me for a younger woman, a woman “So you’re not going to leave Cheez Doodles and tried to forwhose fingers splayed on command. me?” I snurfed. mulate a plan of action. “Not yet. Now maybe if your thumb were to go … ” I smiled and threw a pillow at him. Deborah Welky’s humor column The Sonic Boomer is “Let’s get some lunch. May I help you up? Are you OK? published weekly in the Town-Crier. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheSonicBoomer and visit The Sonic Can you grip my hand? Do I need to call the paramedics?” Smartass. I don’t know why I keep him around. FY Boomer page on Facebook. Page 30 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • November 2011