Chabad program helps Delray Beach seniors
The Chabad of Delray Beach has launched a new outreach program, Smiles on Seniors.
Smile On Seniors (SOS) is a unique volunteer program created to enhance the lives of local seniors.
“Many of us have parents or family who are seniors — living alone or in senior facilities — that would greatly benefit from an extra visit from someone who isn’t family,” said Rabbi Sholom Korf of the Chabad of Delray
Beach. “Family cannot always visit as often as desired — and not always is there someone else to supplement those visits. And that’s where Smiles On Seniors steps in.
“SOS matches local volunteers with local seniors for a weekly visit — bringing joy and a sense of caring to many. With your help, SOS soon hopes to match a volunteer with every Jewish senior!”
Smile on Seniors aims to meet the needs of seniors within the community by connecting them with willing and capable volunteers.
“It has been proven time and time again that consistent human interactions can greatly impact the quality of life of the aged — and those who interact with seniors are in the position to accomplish a tremendous amount,” Korf said.
SOS is designed to enable seniors to develop intimate on-going relationships with volunteers to spread Jewish wisdom and caring. As part of the program, volunteers share Torah thoughts, stories or relevant information about upcoming Jewish holidays.
“The time spent with the seniors will be utilized to its utmost so that they are able to benefit from it and enjoy it as much as possible,” said Korf.
A major goal of the Smiles on Seniors program is to train volunteers that are interested in developing a long- term relationship with their senior. Anticipating future visits with an SOS volunteer can help seniors maintain a more positive outlook; therefore, consistency is a crucial key to a relationship that is beneficial for the senior, Korf said.
Korf started the program when he realized the Chabad of Delray Beach could provide a much-needed service to the community.
“Our area has a large senior population that can benefit from this outreach program,” Korf said, “For many seniors, the feeling of being left alone is something that can be extremely painful — and no senior should ever have to experience.
“Our program will provide weekly contact with one of our volunteers, who will bring some sunshine into a lonely life. Often, it takes just minutes to change a person’s entire week.
“The aim of our program is to visit seniors where they live — be it alone in an apartment or home, as well as those who reside in senior independent and assisted-living facilities. Helping to put a smile on someone’s face is one of the greatest mitzvahs (commandments) we can perform.”
Beatriz Cymberknopf is serving as the volunteer coordinator of the program.
In conjunction with her role as a legacy navigator, coach and outreach facilitator, Cymberknopf is in a unique position to recruit and train volunteers for this program.
“A person does not have to belong to Chabad to volunteer for this program,” Cymberknopf said. “All it takes is a willingness to bring joy into the life of a senior — and a commitment of time to a regular schedule, which our seniors will come to rely on.”
Stuart Kranson is the Smiles on Seniors program coordinator for the Chabad of Delray Beach.
“Once a person becomes a volunteer, we will provide the necessary training and materials necessary to help them be an effective ambassador of joy to a senior,” Kranson said. “Seniors do not need to be a member of Chabad. This program serves the needs of all seniors in our community.”
Kranson said that Smiles on Seniors would like to be informed of any local seniors in need of regular visits.
If you know someone who does not have regular contact with friends or family — and is not able to get out into the community — the Chabad of Delray will arrange for regular visits that will bring a moment of joy to their lives.
For more information about the program, to sign up to volunteer, or to inquire about arranging visitations for a senior, visit www.chabaddelray.com/sos or call Korf at 561-843-6518, Ext. 1.
Copyright © 2017, Jewish Journal
Randall P. Lieberman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel