Two exceptional community volunteers from Livingston County were recently honored by the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) for their exceptional service to older adults and others in the community.
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Dorothy Manes of Avon and Joyce Wechsler of Geneseo were nominated by their county Area Office on Aging for recognition at NYSOFA’s annual Older New Yorkers’ Day celebration.
The virtual celebration premiered November 5 on social media, with a video presentation featuring approximately 90 honorees from around the state, along with remarks from state officials.
- Manes has been a foster grandparent at St. Agnes School in Livingston County since 2009. Through the years she has helped hundreds of elementary school students with reading, art, and other subjects, supporting their efforts to focus, learn, make friends, and thrive.
- Wechsler has long been a generous donor of her time and energy to local organizations, serving as a Red Cross driver and CPR instructor and volunteer driver for Catholic Charities of Livingston County through its Faith in Action program, among other efforts.
Sue Carlock, Director of the Livingston County Office for the Aging, said: “Volunteers are critical in Livingston County to provide many of the supports that allow older adults to age in place. This includes respite services for caregivers, transportation to medical appointments, grocery stores and pharmacies, and health-promotion activities such as Tai Chi for Arthritis. Since the pandemic began, older adults have stepped up to meet critical needs. The number of volunteers in the Livingston County Medical Reserve Corps more than doubled. These volunteers, a large percentage of whom are older adults, provided needed personnel for hundreds of county-run vaccine clinics despite themselves being at-risk. Other volunteers combated loneliness by making well-check and friendly calls to isolated older adults who were staying at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19. I couldn’t be prouder of their work.”
New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said: “Older adults contribute mightily to their communities. These individuals are a great reason why New York lives up to its designation as an age-friendly state – the first in the nation to receive this distinction. Older New Yorkers not only help their peers in the same age group, but also families and youths as well, with a level of voluntary contribution that is unmatched by any other demographic group. We are so proud to celebrate their incredible contributions. We thank them for their wisdom, their talents, their mentorship, and their service.”
Throughout New York State, over 935,000 individuals age 55 or older contribute approximately 495 million hours of service to their communities annually. This translates into an annual economic output of $13.8 billion.
People over the age of 50 also account for the majority of volunteering, philanthropy, and donation activities in the U.S. Older New Yorkers and Baby Boomers make up 63 percent – $379 billion – of all the household income generated in New York State, supporting local businesses and schools while contributing significantly to the local and state economy.