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Meet the Shine Volunteers!
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Meet the Shine Volunteers!
By Margie Ware, Regional SHINE Coordinator
Iíve spent a good part of my first year as SHINE Coordinator learning along with you. Every time I wrote an article for Berkshire Senior last year, I had usually just learned about the subject about three weeks prior to composing the article! In the coming year, with a little experience under my belt, I hope our program can continue to educate and elucidate Berkshire elders on the complexities of todayís health insurance choices.
Beginning this month, SHINE Volunteers will be visible throughout the County helping seniors learn about the new Prescription Advantage Plan. They will be an integral part of the implementation of a brand-new answer to the prescription drug needs of Massachusetts seniors. So in preparation, I would like to let you know about this exceptional group of volunteers.
Starting in North County (of course Ė I live there!) we have volunteers available in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and, believe it or not, Florida! In fact, Florida probably has more SHINE Counselors per capita than any other community in the County. Twin sisters Maralyn Brown and Rosalyn Mullette just completed their volunteer training in November and are part of the exception effort being made by the Florida COA to provide a range of services, eventually including a new senior center, to the residents of that community. Joe Sikora and Nancy Markgraf in Williamstown have regularly scheduled hours at the Harper Center; Sandy Lamb, North Adams COA Director and her able assistant Brenda Zappone, are available by appointment at the Spitzer Center. Sharon Band at Ecu-Health Care at North Adams Regional Hospital does a variety of North County home visits. Mabel Sherman holds counseling sessions at the Adams COA and Yvette Bastow is available to counsel residents of Cheshire.
In Lanesborough, newly-trained volunteer Nancy Witusynski will begin counseling soon in that community. Nancy joins a roster of colleagues in Central County which includes Jim Smith, Fran Feldsine, Rita Kane, Kathy Noto, Barb Caplin, Mike Ciborski, Barbara Beeker, Gail Harris, Edwina Sebest and Priscilla Zuber in Pittsfield and Patti Pero in Dalton. Central County volunteers hold regularly scheduled sessions at the Froio Center Tuesdays from 12:15PM -3:15PM and make home visits. Arri Hurvitz, the outreach worker at the Froio Center is also a new SHINE counselor, and so will be available for walk-in questions on other days. Counselors also can be seen at Berkshiretown Apartments, Epworth Arms, Central Annex and Providence Court where Elder Servicesí Pam Ripley is also a certified SHINE counselor.
Traditionally South County has been our most underserved area, but this fallís training class added a number of sparkling additions to our ranks. In Lenox, Linda Mottarella, the stalwart outreach worker will be joined by new volunteer Patricia Lyon. Norma Maroney, COA Director in Lee can be reached at the Senior Center. For months, Myrna Rosenberg of Otis has performed yeoman service by being available to clients in Otis, Sandisfield and Great Barrington, as well as Sheffield and Egremont. To her great relief, she will now be part of a team in South County which includes Sue Kucharski of the Community Health Center of the Berkshires, located at Fairview Hospital, Liz Wells of Entry to Healthcare, Gloria Temple of Stockbridge and Barbara Shepetin, an Austerlitz, NY resident who will be able to serve areas such as West Stockbridge, Stockbridge, Egremont and Alford.
Last but not least are the unsung workhorses of the SHINE program. Sim Gaunt and Melissa James of Elder Servicesí Information and Referral program give answers to not only SHINE questions but every other kind of question under the sun, five days a week from 8AM to 5PM. When the SHINE desk is not staffed, they are there to answer your inquiries about health insurance and the Pharmacy Program.
Itís an impressive group of individuals and the residents of Berkshire County are extremely fortunate to have their services. If you see one of these special people out in the community in the next month, be sure and tell them how much we all appreciate the hard work of SHINE volunteers!