Another year! What will it hold for us as individuals? Or what can we do, as individuals, to make the world around us a little better?
You know my motto … get up and get moving and get involved!
Take a walk outside, or walk inside … there is a walking track at Kent State University, and at their huge athletic center on Summit Road; or in Ravenna, go to the RAC on North Freedom Street; or just go to Walmart and walk around for 30 minutes (you do not have to buy anything, just look and walk).
Or you could visit a Senior Center and socialize with other folks our age. Aurora and Streetsboro each have a center, and there is the Portage Senior Center on Oakwood Street in Ravenna. Being with other people is a great benefit to your "mind and body."
Did you recently see in the newspaper that the seniors citizens in Bath Township and Macedonia are lobbying their government officials for a dedicated Senior Center … and we in Portage County already have centers … so use them.
Or you could volunteer your time at one of our local agencies or schools. Some of our schools have tutoring programs and reading programs which rely upon volunteers to work with the children. Or how about Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna? Volunteers make that facility more "people friendly." The Center of Hope in Ravenna and Kent Social Services both depend upon volunteers to provide the services to their clients.
Or you could call the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and ask them for a volunteer assignment (330-298-2666).
Speaking of volunteers, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Area Agency on Aging's annual award ceremony at Glenmoor Country Club in Canton. Area residents Deanna and Jack Kline, were inducted into the Agency's 2012 Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. For the past 17 years, they have both been active volunteers at the Center of Hope and Family & Community Services' "Christmas Holiday Give-a-way Program."
Dee organizes and supervises volunteers who sort and categorize a variety of toys and games so parents can have an opportunity to "shop" for Christmas presents for their children. Jack has been organizing volunteer groups to sort and pack boxes of food that are then distributed to individuals and families. Together, they have gone shopping for toys to ensure that there will be plenty of items for the families who come to them for assistance.
Dee and Jack were instrumental in the creation of the Center of Hope. They spent countless hours painting, wallpapering and organizing the Center before it opened to the community. Dee still spends every Tuesday at the Center cooking and serving hot meals to area individuals.
The Klines were nominated for this award by Anne Marie Mann-Noble, director of emergency outreach services at the Center of Hope in Ravenna,.
When I arrived at the Area Agency on Aging's Awards ceremony, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Rootstown resident Dorothy Huff was being honored as the Area Agency on Aging's 2012 "Volunteer of Distinction."
She and her husband became involved in the Area Agency's Ombudsman Program in 2000. Though her husband died in 2006, she has continued to visit two area nursing homes on a regular basis. As an Ombudsman, she has befriended many area residents through her warmth and kindness. She is their advocate when they in a nursing home, making sure that they are comfortable and satisfied with their care.
Have an active safe new year!