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May 11, 2012 > Hillside Senior Care shows appreciation

Hillside Senior Care shows appreciation

By Julie Grabowski, Photo courtesy of Ruby Solorzano

Hillside Senior Care in Fremont recognized members of the community for their invaluable service at their third annual Volunteer Appreciation Day. The April 19 event honored individuals as well as group volunteers from Fremont Community Church, Palma Ceia Baptist Church, the Ohlone Humane Society, Corpus Christy Church, St. James Episcopal Church, Friends of Hillside, Front and Center Music, and Goura Body Blissful.

The high-spirited group of new and longtime volunteers enjoyed refreshments and visiting and the chance to meet other volunteers before being presented with certificates of appreciation.

Activities Director and Social Services Director Ruby Solorzano, Business Manager Rimple Jani, and Director of Nurses Vilmar Agustin gave heartfelt thanks to the volunteers for spending time with the residents and giving them a quality of life that matters. "There is no way we could do it without you!" was the collective cry, speaking to their invaluable help to the facility and its employees as well as to the seniors.

According to Agustin, 60 to 65 percent of Hillside residents have no family, so those who choose to give generously of their time and talents provide that link and bond of family. "May God give you all the power to come back every single week!" he said with exuberance.

But it was a mutual admiration society as volunteers thanked the staff for their continued care and treatment of their residents. Volunteer Sandra Motley with St. James Episcopal Church praised Hillside's care and helpfulness, and said it is a joy to come and talk to the seniors there. St. James selected Hillside for outreach and has been ministering at its facility for over 20 years. Motley says that it's important for the seniors to have that outside contact with people.

Shelley Bartley has been coming to Hillside for five years and started the group Friends of Hillside. After working for 38 years as a teacher, Bartley says, "I felt like I still wanted to help others." She asks friends to come along or help out as they would like with time and talents, and once a month the group treats residents to something special. Bartley and Friends of Hillside have brought in various activities and entertainment such as Hawaiian dancers and performances by their own singing group Front and Center directed by Dave Fritz, as well as making fleece blankets and scarves. "I feel like the need is really here," says Bartley. Last Christmas the group fulfilled the residents' wish lists and presented them with over 100 donated gifts.

"You get really attached to the residents and they look forward to when you come," says Bartley. Other volunteers echo her feelings, one calling her time at Hillside "moving and inspirational," while another sums up the whole purpose of service: "We try to make everyone feel special." That creation of a family atmosphere and letting people know that someone cares for them is what the volunteers of Hillside are all about.

Hillside Senior Care is always open to more volunteers and welcomes anyone who is interested. No special talents or skills are required, just the simple interest and willingness to read or chat and spend a little friendly time with another. To learn more about Hillside Senior Care and volunteering opportunities, call Ruby Solorzano at (510) 793-3000.

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