2013 Nominees Section
Why should this person be nominated? (What makes nominee unique; why should they be selected the winner of this category?
Volunteer Ellen Fisher leads by example. Her passion for homebound seniors is contagious and her ability to inspire others effortless. Ellen first learned of SeniorServ through the annual Grant a Wish for a Senior Holiday Gift Program. Since the day Ellen purchased that first gift, she has become impassioned with using her creative vision and fundraising skills to increase awareness and enhance the lives of Orange County homebound seniors, while inspiring many others to do the same.
“My interest is in the individual who is largely homebound, often without family or financial resources; the one whose phone doesn’t ring for days at a time,” explains Ellen. I try to find small ways in which to make those individuals happier – even momentarily – to let them know that they are remembered and cared about. I do not do this work alone; there are almost 30 others helping through donations and work. I send out the word and they help. The amount is unimportant. The involvement is what matters.”
SeniorServ has come to know this group of 30 caring individuals as “Ellen and Friends.”
With Ellen’s guidance, Ellen and Friends have collectively raised over $4000 in cash and in-kind items such as such as blankets and sheets, toasters, clothing, shoes, personal hygiene items, nutritional supplements, holiday remembrances… and even transportation. “Some of my group have used to their skills as crafters and developed a Craft Guild, selling their handwork at OC craft shows and donating the proceeds to fill in the gaps for SeniorServ Meals on Wheels clients”, explained Ellen.
Ellen is proactive; She learns of a need and thinks creatively to find ways to inspire others to collectively contribute their time, talent and treasure towards meeting a common goal.
Most recently, after learning that budget cuts eliminated SeniorServ’s funding for ACCESS (curb to curb) transportation for frail seniors, Ellen hosted a Virtual Tea Party, where ‘guests’ were sent an invitation, a tea bag and a message requesting their support. This effort alone provided 229 ACCESS passes for homebound seniors needing a way to get to their doctors appointments.
Additionally, Ellen also volunteers as a committee member for the Senior Holiday Gift Program, creates a quarterly volunteer newsletter, speaks to groups when requested, and communicates regularly whenever a new idea emerges. “She is SeniorServ’s ‘think tank’, putting ideas into motion, solving needs one at a time while filling in the gaps”, states Theresa Powell, SeniorServ Director, Volunteer Services. “This is invaluable, especially in these times of sequestration and funding reductions. We need more Ellens!”
What is this nominee’s involvement in senior care or senior issues
Ellen serves for the pure love of serving. She has not met any of the people she has helped, but is fueled by simply knowing she made a difference. She is the voice for those who cannot be heard, and yet the recipients of her kindness do not know who she is because she does it all anonymously. During this time of limited governmental support, it is citizens like Ellen who not only take action herself, but also inspire others to help, that fill in the gaps needed to provide basic needs for the vulnerable homebound senior population. We need to recognize and shine a light on contributors like Ellen, so that more like her may be inspired to expand on the work she does, and feel the difference that even a small group of individuals can make.