Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I had the opportunity to join one of our loyal volunteers to deliver meals one morning for a couple hours. Our discussion in the car between deliveries centered on the Presidential election, planning for the coming holidays, the price of gas, midtown traffic congestion, upcoming vacations, challenges of raising teenagers, and other current events of the day. All this changed when we met a senior citizen client who made us rethink our priorities.

This lovely woman greeted us at her door with a big smile on her face. She graciously accepted the meals we brought her, but with one motion, she also pulled us both in to her stark apartment with glee. “Look what I have!” she exclaimed, pointing to the large picture window through which we saw very large hardwood trees brimming with yellow, red, and orange leaves of the fall season. Against the bright blue sky that day, the splendor of the colors made me squint. A sudden breeze outside made the picture come to life.

I couldn’t imagine a painting as beautiful to be found anywhere in the world. So, we stood there, the three of us, for a moment, then two, silent, just watching. “Just look what I have!” she said again.

We watched a moment more, and although wishing our stay could last longer, turned with my volunteer, and said our good-byes. The initial silence in the car with my volunteer as we rode to the next stop was broken as we looked at one another, and smiling, reflected that we had been given a great gift by that senior citizen that day: the chance to stop the busy-ness of a day, and appreciate simple pleasures in our own lives through the eyes of another.

If you wish to share simple pleasures with us and our seniors, we invite you to sign up to volunteer through this web site. Happy holidays!

By Brad Catherman
Vice President of Gift Planning

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Being Thankful

Oftentimes, regardless of where we are in life, we all have things to be thankful for. As I sat at the Thanksgiving Day table this year, I looked around and began to think of what I was thankful for.

Many people are simply thankful that they opened their eyes to the morning sun. My late grandma always used to say the most important part of her day was opening her eyes. It used to freak me out a bit when she would say this but now I understand what it meant to her. Just the thought of having another morning… she was thankful for that. Why is it that the less someone has – in her case, time – the more thankful they are for the simplest and most basic of what life offers?

I hope everyone continues to remember what to be thankful for well beyond the Thanksgiving holiday, and should times get rough, there is always the morning sun to be thankful for. Being thankful doesn’t have to end with a thought but can be translated into action – action to donate time as a volunteer or action to donate money to your favorite charity or action to share what others are doing that make you thankful.

-- Patrick O'Kane
Director of Operations

P.S. If you are a client reading this, I’m thankful you reached out for what help we can provide. If you are a volunteer, I am thankful you give of your time and energy. If you are a donor, I am thankful you give so generously. If you are a staff member, I’m thankful you are helping us meet our mission. If you are anyone else, I’m thankful you are reading this and hope you will become a client, volunteer, donor, or staff member.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wedding Memories

After months of planning and preparing, Laura and Jeff had just one more task to complete before their wedding day: the party favors. Choosing meaningful favors is not an easy task, and it is one part of the wedding that is not for you, but for your guests. I have received wedding favors ranging from a personalized spaghetti scooper to a CD of the couple’s favorite music. But Laura and Jeff wanted their favors to be special, meaningful. Each had had a grandparent who struggled with Alzheimer’s, and both of those grandparents have since passed on. Like most of us, they had hoped their grandparents would be around for their special day.

To honor their grandparents, Laura and Jeff gave a generous donation to Senior Citizen Services, designating half for Meals On Wheels Atlanta and half for the Vivian T. Minor Adult Day Care Center for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. We provided Laura and Jeff with a sign to put on the head table, announcing that they chose to support Atlanta’s older adults in lieu of providing wedding favors for their guests, and asked our ADC seniors to sign a wedding card for the newlyweds.

I have never met Laura or Jeff, but their idea is a page out of my own book. For a full week, I could not contain my excitement. I told my mother, my best friend, my boyfriend, random passers-by. What a way to incorporate your community, your family, and strangers in need! I have often heard that a budget is a moral document: your priorities are evident in how you choose to spend your money. Laura and Jeff have shown us where their priorities are, and I am proud to count them among our supporters. I know their grandparents would be proud, too.

-- by Jaclyn Barbarow
Grants and Database Administrator