We started "Profiles" so you could get to know the staff and volunteers of the Friendship Center. Everybody has their roots somewhere in the cycle of aging and support to the community. Kathy Silverberg, Board Chair, is no exception. Not only is she passionate about giving back to the community, but she's a talented writer and has shared some wonderful posts here on the blog.
Her quote at the end of her profile story says it all...
is the relationships we experience along the way."
There was a time when serving the needs of older adults was not on my radar screen. Then I became one. But even before that, I moved to Charlotte County and was reminded almost daily that I was sharing my new home with one of the largest percentages of older people of any county in the nation.
The reminders came in the middle of the day at the grocery store when no one seemed to be in a hurry, during walks around my neighborhood when the sight of a child was rare and a baby carriage more often held a small dog than an infant.
As I became more involved in the community, it seemed to me that our older population was taken for granted, the needs of seniors too often ignored, even though so many of our neighbors were aging without the benefit of family and friends nearby to look in on them.
Then I heard about the Friendship Centers and became acquainted with some of the amazing people who work so hard every day to lighten the load of older residents. I was inspired by the foresight of our founder Brother Geenen and those who worked with him in the early days to create a better reality for the area’s elderly. I have heard the stories and seen the people who have rekindled their enthusiasm for life by volunteering at the Friendship Centers and participating in its many programs. I have become aware of the health concerns people with limited means must endure and have marveled at the work volunteer medical personnel do at the Friendship Centers’ clinics.
More than anything, my involvement at the Friendship Centers has reminded me of the gifts I received from older family members who nurtured me through the years and it has given me the determination to follow in their footsteps. The greatest reward on this journey through life is the relationships we experience along the way.
About Kathy Silverberg
Board Chair of Senior Friendship Centers' Board of Governors, Kathy is currently a newspaper columnist/ freelance writer, and previously was Southern Region Publisher for the Sarasota Herald Tribune and Editor/General Manager of four New York Times regional newspapers. She serves as liaison between United Way of Charlotte County and the Senior Friendship Centers. She is past chair of the Board of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, is a board member and past president for United Way of Charlotte County; and, is chair of Charlotte County’s Senior Leadership Council.