Donna Paganello is the Nutrition Coordinator for the Friendship Centers on the Sarasota campus. Like so many members of the staff and volunteers, she stumbled upon the Friendship Centers as a participant in one of the activities, in her case, Paula Falk's support group.
Her motivation is driven by her passion for, as she puts it, being involved in the "human potential". You're going to be reading a lot of posts thanks to Donna, who's been writing short profiles, "More Than a Meal" as part of the Friendship Centers' blog.
My degree from Vermont College in Women's Studies and Psychology broadened my awareness and appreciation for all that it takes to create a satisfying life; a process that is ever changing and full of surprises from start to finish.
My perspective is broadened daily by my three lively and artistic children. They are an on-going source of love, creativity and joy; as well as two grandchildren who bring another kind of amazement!
I came to the Friendship Centers after hearing about Paula Falk's support group. At the time I was working at a small bookstore. At a timely moment, a young co-worker shared with me his experience at the support group during the time he was caring for his grandmother. I gave it a try and found it was indeed very helpful. In addition, it revealed how much more the center had to offer to all kinds of people; not to mention the volunteer opportunities that existed.
I eventually got a job in the nutrition department. I had no idea what I would actually do or how deeply I would be touched by my daily contact with seniors. Seven years later I have lots of stories in my heart; a tapestry of so much richness.
Working here is a reality check on an on-going basis and a wonderful reminder of how fast life goes by and how crucial it is to take time to enjoy each little jewel put in your path daily.
In the wise words of writer Mary Pipher,
“Living is a complicated process, a journey of discovery that never ceases. As I grow older, the basic facts of life seem increasingly simple. The closer we live to our core, the more we realize that we are like other people. My fear and sorrow are yours, as is my harsh self-judgment. My desire to be good and to feel loved is your desire, too. We all seek peace.”
Working at SFC gives me another opportunity to practice this.
About Donna Paganello
As Nutrition Coordinator, Donna enrolls anyone 60 or older who lives in Sarasota county into the nutrition program. She's also involved in lunch reservations at the Senior Center Monday - Friday, lining up musicians during the lunch hour, facilitating socializing and teaching a nutrition related topic each month.