Resident volunteers have always been integral to East Ridge at Cutler Bay, the active retirement community off Galloway Road. Their volunteer efforts and hours are channeled within the community as well as to a wide variety of organizations in and around Cutler Bay.
“Our residents find many ways to become involved and enjoy helping others as well as their community,” noted Mary Scott Russell, director of marketing for East Ridge. “Living at East Ridge affords them the time to pursue their interests without the burden and responsibilities of home maintenance including cooking and cleaning. Volunteering gives them a sense of purpose. Their productive contributions may be the secret sauce to successful aging.”
National Volunteer Week celebrated in April was an opportunity to honor and thank those who lend their time and talent to making a difference in their communities. East Ridge at Cutler Bay joined the rest of the nation in acknowledging those who graciously volunteer and are of service to others at their annual Volunteer Appreciation Party.
At East Ridge, volunteering takes many different forms. There are those who contribute by serving on the various committees of the community’s Town Council and there are monthly committee meetings that residents contribute time, energy and suggestions.
Many of the activities found on the monthly calendar of events are clubs and special interest groups organized by residents. For example, The “Persnickety Book Club”, organized by Tag Marvel, attracts residents who enjoy reading and discussing a monthly book selection. Gary Sisler loves politics and created “Jim Jab”, a political discussion group forum. He also volunteers at Three Palms Assisted Living at East Ridge and geared a Wednesday discussion group, “Can We Talk,” to the men living in assisted living. Bob Parkerson found his gardening passion welcomed at East Ridge. He volunteers running the community’s greenhouse and works with a team of residents maintaining and rehabilitating plants and selling them at the weekly plant shop.
“Volunteering helps residents make new friends and meet their neighbors while sharing a common interest and having fun,” explains Russell. “At East Ridge help is always welcome. Volunteers can be found assisting staff whenever they can and no task is unappreciated including stuffing envelopes to delivering newsletters.”
Studies show people can find new meaning and purpose in their lives by helping others, acknowledges Russell. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life. Studies also indicate that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.
“When people are considering a move to an active retirement community like East Ridge, we encourage them to get to know the community and learn what volunteer opportunities are available that may pique their interests,” added Russell.