Talkin’ About the Volunteer Initiative . . .

Chatting with friends recently, our conversation turned to what we believe makes life meaningful, i.e. what gives us joy, happiness, and a sense of fulfillment. As we talked more about what makes life meaningful, our conversation zeroed in on the Blue Hill Peninsula—the awesome beauty of our area, the amazing events/activities available on the peninsula, e.g., concerts, lectures, sailing, hiking, etc., and most importantly our wonderful friends and neighbors on the Peninsula.

Thinking about our friends and neighbors on the Peninsula, the Thriving in Place Downeast (TiPD) Volunteer Project immediately came to mind. TiPD is a collaboration of medical and social service agencies, which was recently launched on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington and is led by Healthy Peninsula. One of the TiPD partners is Friends in Action —a program started in the Ellsworth area which focuses especially on senior citizens’ needs, wants, issues, etc. And, as part of TiPD’s pilot volunteer project, Friends in Action is partnering with Blue Hill Memorial Hospital to help members of our Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington communities thrive in place.

Basically, the TiPD’s volunteer initiative’s mission is to ensure that the needs of our senior friends and fellow community members are being addressed, e.g., providing in-home support and resource information for seniors and others with chronic healthcare conditions, “being there” to help seniors who may be adjusting to living alone, connecting seniors to transportation for medical appointments, shopping, etc., helping to ensure that seniors’ living situation is safe and comfortable, helping seniors deal with the loss of a loved one, and just plain becoming a new friend for seniors who may feel lonely and marginalized.

Overall, my sense is that a critically important aspect of what makes life meaningful on the Blue Hill Peninsula is our community’s willingness, commitment, and interest in helping others—both friends and community members—enjoy their lives and feel valued by our community. And, the TiPD volunteer project is an initiative that definitely meets these goals in an incredibly personal, thoughtful, and caring way.

— Margaret Hannah, Friends in Action Volunteer