“The Story of Us”

"The Story of Us"

Why do we do what we do? What makes us tick? What makes our staff, our board members, our volunteers, our donors spend their energies on the mission work of the Center? 

In this series you’ll get a deeper glimpse into the answers to those questions.

Each month beginning in February 2019 we will share a story from someone operating within the Center, written in their own words.

Check back here to read The Story of Us, or sign up to receive it via email!

Want to share your story?
Email Zac at zac@moreaucommunitycenter.org,
and he’ll work with you on edits and future publication!

 

Your Stories & Ours

I’ve lived in South Glens Falls for over thirteen years, directly across from the Moreau Community Center. I worked in Albany for eleven years, commuting daily on the precarious Northway, and although my work – supporting people of all ages living with vision loss – was truly rewarding, I started feeling that I wanted to spend more time giving back to my hometown community. I’ve always loved volunteering as well, but my efforts had primarily served others outside of my own community.
 
Every day I would look out my window and see all the hub-bub of cars, smiling people and laughing children, and about two years ago, it hit me that my opportunity to give back to my community was literally in my own front yard! Since its inception, I’ve always found the MCC Block Party a wonderful, fun, family event to celebrate community.  I volunteered twice to be in the dunking booth, but that didn’t pan out, much to the dismay of mischievous friends who were dying to give me a dunk!
 
In 2018, I learned about the Center’s Summer Lunch Bunch Program. The program provides under-resourced children who rely on school meals and the Backpack Program during the school year for nutritious, reliable meals, with the same quality lunches, as well as social engagement. As I discussed the program with Development Director Kelly Obermayer, I was amazed to learn of how many children could go hungry right in my own ‘backyard.’ I had no idea! As a member of the Saratoga Springs Lions Club, I asked for their support, and with equal participation from the Glens Falls Lions Club, I was pleased to secure a $1,000 donation for the Lunch Bunch Program. I continue to help the program organize weekly deliveries during the summer. This program is a huge volunteer effort and I love being a part of it.

I am honored and privileged to call myself a volunteer,

asking Kelly on a regular basis “How can I help?” When the South Glens Falls Holiday Parade was planned, my therapy dog Clive and I were only too happy to help lead the parade. When there was a call for volunteers in the fall to help seniors with yard work, I was honored to join a crew who annually grab a rake and get the jobs done with lots of laughter and goodwill – even in the rain! As a Saratoga Springs Lion’s club member, I performed vision screenings for the preschoolers, identifying early signs of vision problems. And when we had that big snow storm and the facilities technician was under the weather and unable to tackle the snow removal, I was only too happy to grab my shovel and be a good neighbor. We had lots of laughs together and got the job done in record time. As a participant in the first annual “Trivia Night Fundraiser,” I had a BLAST making new friends and winning first place!

 
The Moreau Community Center makes me feel like I am part of a community; a family of caring people looking out for each other. I have found my way to not only give back to my hometown, but also to enjoy getting to know my neighbors, and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to helping support the Center mission and to grow awareness of what a gift it is for us all. Whether you volunteer, participate in a program, or just stop by for a free cup of coffee, the Center is a wonderful place to make friends, give back, and find helpful resources. And don’t forget to check out the Thrift Store!  I purchased a lovely red sweater and scarf which have received many flattering compliments.

My four-year-old therapy dog Clive is always a welcome visitor when he comes over to say “Hi!”, share some sloppy kisses and well, quite honestly, to get some treats from Rosemary!
He is eager to lead me to the Center every time we go out for a walk. My new, 11-year-old retired guide dog Goldie, is looking forward to making some new friends as well as she pursues her retirement as a therapy dog. Both are Labrador Retrievers that were bred, raised, and trained to be guide dogs for the blind, and they love the Center as much as I do.

Thank you MCC for all you have given me, and for all you do for our community.
 
-Cheryl, Clive, Goldie

A Family Affair 
Roberta & Kelly Stevens

When I retired from the Department of Transportation in 1999, my husband Bill and I spent the winter in Florida. Upon returning to South Glens Falls in the spring of 2000, I found myself residing where all my neighbors and friends were still working. A little lost and in need of social activity, I decided I needed to volunteer somewhere. After talking to some people, I decided that the Moreau Community Center might be a good fit, so I met with Jeanne Gutheil and signed up.

I remember volunteering for the Saratoga County Office of the Aging at the MCC Meal Site and got to know the good folks at the Center. I was hooked! From there my volunteering expanded to baking and serving for various functions, and to volunteering for BINGO by selling and working in the kitchen. Kelly O. calls me “the go to girl” – I have done so many different things I can’t remember them all. I even brought my husband on board as a volunteer.

One of our favorite activities we share is selling balloons at the Community Block Party!

So, you ask the question “Why do it?” The answer is very simple – I love this place.

I was very warmly welcomed by the other wonderful volunteers and good people attending to the Center. I can’t say enough about the staff. They all treat me with laughter, love, kindness and respect; what more can I ask for?  MCC is like a family to me. As I told Donna Nichols once a few years ago “I stay because it’s fun.” I will volunteer as long as I can.

MCC is an important part of who I am, and I will always do anything I can to support it in any way I am able. I am proud to be a part of the MCC family. The staff and volunteers work so well as a team to bring and keep the community together. We are all one big family. Stop and think about all MCC does and how it helps the community and its people, and you’ll be amazed. Without the staff and dedicated volunteers, we as a Community would be sadly lacking a vital resource.

See y’all in April. “Ta-ta for now”  -Roberta
P.S. It’s still fun for me!

*****

After having moved around throughout the US while cultivating my retail career, I found myself homesick for my hometown of South Glens Falls. I moved “back home” in January 2019 and wanted a volunteer opportunity that would keep me engaged while searching out a new career path. Of course, my Mom sent me directly to MCC. I started volunteering two days later at Thursday night BINGO at St. Michael’s and have since expanded my volunteering to include prepping the school backpacks for kids as well as anything else they need help with around the center.

     I always thought my mom volunteered at a “Senior Center” and was astonished when I learned of all the amazing programs MCC offers for people of all ages.

Like my mom, I experienced a warm welcome from the staff and volunteers at MCC. It was sincere and heartwarming. Volunteering at the Center has made me rethink my career path as I have a renewed interest in pursuing a career in service to my community.

When I went to college I earned a degree in Human Services with every intention of working in a career that supported my community. My career progressed in a different direction, but I realize now that it’s never too late to get back to my roots and I thank everyone at MCC for making me realize that I have so much to offer my community and perhaps I can find a way to integrate that in my next career move.

Simply put, The Moreau Community Center ROCKS!

-Kelly

 

-Kelly

In April of 2017, after 28 years with the same employer, I found myself out of a job. The company consolidated the functions of my department into another office and several long-term employees were suddenly unemployed. At 64 years old, this was scary for me, a single homeowner with no family in the immediate area. We knew about the reorganization many months in advance, which gave me time to get my personal affairs in order and I was able to face the life change with confidence that I’d be “OK” financially. I educated myself on extending benefits, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment compensation, everything I’d need to know going into retirement. Being the manager of the effected department, my focus was on supporting my staff members – I helped with resumes, job searches, and insurance navigation. I decided that when our positions were completely dissolved into the other department, I wasn’t going to work anymore.

Emotionally spent, I had a minor surgery, recovered, caught up on all the yard work and projects that had been “put off until tomorrow,” and in early May it hit me that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had concentrated on life essentials for myself and others for several months but had given no thought to how I’d stay connected to people or amuse myself with no job to get up for every day. I had been needed all my life by kids and with my job, and suddenly that was gone. All my friends were still working, so I felt isolated.

That’s when the Moreau Community Center came into my life. A friend invited me to go to MCC one Wednesday afternoon to play Sudoku with the small group of seniors. Once there, she introduced me to some staff members and I happened to see a volunteer signup sheet for the upcoming Garage Sale. I signed up to help, and the rest, is as they say, is history. I couldn’t get enough, and soon the skills I’d honed over a lengthy career found a new home at the Center. By the end of December, all customer account balances had been reviewed for the past 20 years. At the same time, I continued to mail newsletters, help with the Holiday Sharing and community yard cleanup projects. I also volunteered to work the kitchen for bingo at St. Michaels’ Church on a regular basis, and I became a trained VITA tax assistant and a trained AARP Defensive Driver Course instructor. Not a single event passed without being thanked for my involvement. At the end of the year I was spotlighted as the Center’s volunteer for the second half of 2017. Wow, what an honor!

So, how do I put into a few words what MCC means to me?

I started coming to the center for companionship and activities. I kept coming back because the staff and other volunteers made me feel so welcome and appreciated. I was being nurtured and nurturing others at the same time. Volunteering at the Center gives me the flexibility to spend as much or as little time there as I want. It makes me feel needed and gives me a purpose that I lost when I stopped working. I have made several new friends among the seniors, and board members, as well as knowing all the staff. Becoming a board member stepped up my contributions to a strategic level, while I still enjoy the day to day opportunities to contribute. I continue to show up for books, newsletters, special events, bingo, taxes, driver safety, Sudoku and anything else I’m asked or see a need for.

I have said all my adult life that I just want to feel as though I’ve made a difference. I don’t need constant recognition or monetary rewards. Being a part of the Moreau Community Center and working together to help the community has made my retirement rewarding.