Annette Gerard has always volunteered, which meant juggling board memberships, synagogue activities and raising children. So, when she moved cross-country to Rose Schnitzer Manor four years ago, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work.
Annette is instrumental to the success of Purls of Wisdom, the manor’s knitting group that has donated hundreds of items. She also joined the library commit- tee, hospitality committee and even the small group that waters indoor plants. She recently received the LeadingAge Oregon Volunteer of the Year award for Cedar Sinai Park.
LeadingAge Oregon (oashs.org) is a statewide organization of nonprofits that provides services to the elderly. Every year each member facility chooses one outstanding resident for special honors. CSP Community Life Director and Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Tipsord helped select the winner from the many wonderful volunteers CSP depends on.
“Internal volunteers are part of our Resident Council,” Kathy says. “They meet and mentor new residents, organize books in our library, work on menu ideas and assist leading religious services. Residents lead exercise when the instructor is on vacation, work in the gift shop and help with big mailings like the Purim gift bags. Tikkun olam is ageless. It’s finding that niche of being meaningful and saying, ‘As long as I can do something, I will.’ ”
Annette fills her Rose Schnitzer Manor apartment with pictures of family, green plants and her own artwork. “The people here are friendly, and the staff is wonderful,” she says. Annette’s three children and granddaughter live in Portland. Annette moved out in 2010 after her husband died, and when New York winters became intolerable. “I find community here; it’s not like you’re alone in an apartment,” she says. “The people here care for each other.”
Arnie Silver received the LeadingAge Oregon Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011. A native Portlander, he grew up in Old South Portland when it was still a Jewish and Italian immigrant neighborhood. “Kids flocked to each other’s homes to eat all kinds of food,” he says. “It was a happy time. My mother was from Ukraine. Her father was here trying to find work, and she came to assist him. My father was from Poland. He came a roundabout way – Philadelphia, New York, Baker City, OR, for a year or two. My parents met in Portland.”
The Resident Council holds monthly meetings with the administrator and staff. “The residents participate to a great extent in how the facility is run,” Arnie says about life at Rose Schnitzer Manor. “They give us a report and take questions about maintenance, construction and activities. We have various committees headed by a chair – food, religion, the library, campus welfare…”
Arnie served as Resident Council president for five years, has worked with the Administrator’s Construction Committee and has taken up numerous administrative posts. He’s also taught English as a second language to staff for many years.
“We’ve gotten a game room to shoot pool and play cards,” he says. “We have delightful outdoor dining, and we’re all working on bringing in food carts as an option. We’re also trying to reestablish a café at Rose Schnitzer Manor that would serve light meals for breakfast and lunch in addition to the two dining rooms.”
Evelyn Hirsch won the LeadingAge Oregon Volunteer of the Year award in 2012 and keeps busy volunteering when she isn’t writing plays. “I produce one or two plays a year,” she says. Usually a musical comedy, her ventures have included “Snow White and the Seven Yentas,” “Alice in Schnitzerland” and “Fiddler on the Roof Comes to Rose Schnitzer Manor.”
“I’m part of the Resident Council in charge of campus welfare,” Evelyn says. “I take care of the complaints, like if some- thing needs to be painted or a bench is broken. I get in touch with the right people.” Evelyn is also on the Administrator’s Advisory Board and is active in the Yiddish Club, Put Your Two Cents in Club (current events) and the Religion Club.
“I enter my paintings and three-dimensional art into the Ageless Art Contest, and I’m always one of the winners,” she says. “I was teaching drawing and painting. I hope to start this again.”
Evelyn and her husband, Michael, moved to Rose Schnitzer Manor from Florida in 2009 to join a daughter who lives in Portland. “It’s a beautiful state. I even like the rain,” she says. “My outlook on life is that it’s all a big bag of fun. I’m busy being sociable; I like to go to the ballet, theater and opera and have season tickets for all three. And, I recommend Rose Schnitzer Manor to anyone.”