Naples Florida Weekly: The Spirit of Volunteerism

Naples Florida Weekly: The Spirit of Volunteerism

An excerpt from the Florida Weekly article “The Spirit of Volunteerism”:

Some nonprofits need volunteers to fulfil multiple roles, as has Alan Horowitz in the eight years he’s volunteered with the Naples Senior Center. The center enriches the lives of 1,400 seniors in Collier and southern Lee counties by providing social services, including dementia respite care, geriatric case management, emotional support services and a food pantry.

“When we moved here, I realized Naples offers surprisingly little for its seniors,” Mr. Horowitz said. “Senior isolation is very detrimental to their wellbeing. It’s very important to provide social activities for seniors, and Naples the town doesn’t offer much of that. I realized quickly that the Naples Senior Center had wonderful and diverse programs for seniors, and they have a staff and volunteer group who really care. Being a senior myself, I’ve found volunteering at the Naples Senior Center very rewarding.”

Mr. Horowitz volunteers 17 hours weekly, leading discussions in a dementia respite group, delivering for the center’s food pantry and hot lunch program, and performing telephone checkins with seniors.

“Alan is the epitome of a super volunteer,” said Jaclynn Faffer, the center’s president and CEO. “He is always willing to help in any way he can, but he especially enjoys delivering hot meals and food bags each week to vulnerable seniors. The interaction that he provides is so critical in combatting the isolation and loneliness faced by so many older adults in our community. During the peak of the pandemic, when we were forced to temporarily close our doors, you could always look out into the parking lot on Wednesday mornings and see Alan with face mask on and car trunk open for that week’s food deliveries. As he went about his deliveries, he’d stop for a few minutes chat with seniors — at a distance. During that time, Alan was the only person many seniors would see and was really a lifeline for them.”

Mr. Horowitz’s dedicated service led to the center honoring him with its 2021 Volunteer of the Year award.

“Maybe somewhat selfishly, I get a lot of personal satisfaction every time I’m able to bring some happiness into another senior’s life,” Mr. Horowitz said. “That’s a day I go home smiling. Volunteering at Naples Senior Center gives me the opportunity to walk in somebody else’s shoes and get a better understanding of the needs of our seniors. I meet with these folks on a regular basis — at least once a week — and they’ve become my extended family.”

Read the full article here.