Volunteer Week April 16-23
Like most of us, Rae’s story changed during Covid. Central Wyoming Senior Services shut down and only employees were left. Rae said they took advantage of the time to complete scheduled renovation of the building. With emergency federal funding, the organization switched to serving boxed meals in a drive-up program. That program continued through March of this year even though the Covid restrictions were gone, and they have now resumed service only in the dining room including Evansville and Mills locations. Volunteers help with work in the kitchen and dining area.
Unfortunately, due to staffing changes, the volunteer coordinator left, but Rae, as a data entry employee, was tagged to be the new coordinator. She was happy to accept the nomination and she has been building her team ever since. Natrona County School District was pleased to collaborate through the ABLE program. “Students in the ABLE program usually spend three to four days a week in the community. They engage in traditional learning activities in the classroom, as well as authentic experiences such as cooking, riding public transportation, working, shopping, using community resources, engaging in work, recreation, and leisure outings.” https://www.natronaschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2060920&type=d&pREC_ID=2124804
Young adults from ABLE assist in the new coffee shop, dining room and some of the sanitation routines at CWSS. According to Rae, no one from ABLE has ever applied for a job with the senior center. However, other volunteers have been hired and now work in the kitchen. They serve about 120 lunches in the dining room daily, Sunday through Friday.
Normally, at least in Wyoming, Meals on Wheels is housed in the local senior center, however, in Cheyenne and Casper, Meals on Wheels is a separate entity. Meals on Wheels utilizes volunteers to deliver food to the elderly. However, CWSS does not deliver. Most of the volunteers are used with the meal program at the center itself. To order meals or eat in the dining room, those who are sixty or older fill out an annual form allowing them to participate in the suggested donation priced lunches.
Additionally, a handbook is given to those who are interested in helping at the senior center. Besides the dining room, volunteers could work as a barista in the new coffee shop, Deja Brew or help man special events like Bingo and their annual fundraiser, Night at the Races on May 6th this year. Kelly Walsh High School is bringing their gym class to play billiards with the seniors, and they love buying their lattes at Deja Brew. It is a win for the clients and the teenagers.
Most of the center’s volunteers are retired, but Rae would love to see more young people volunteering and interacting with the older generation. Compassion, wisdom, and service are the mutual benefit volunteers and clients receive at the Central Wyoming Senior Center. Anyone aged 16+ are welcome to volunteer. Give Rae a call 307-265-4678. Outside of the Casper area? Give your local senior center a call.