April 10th-16th represents National Volunteer Week, a week when dedicated volunteers are recognized for their efforts. With so many of our own volunteers here at Plymouth Harbor, we wanted to find a way to celebrate these individuals. It is no secret that our residents and staff are kind, caring, generous, and giving. Whether they are donating their time within Plymouth Harbor or to the greater Sarasota community, they are committed to helping organizations succeed.
Each year, The Plymouth Harbor Foundation asks residents and employees to share their community involvement for use in the annual Impact Report. For 2015, we are proud to report that our residents and staff collectively volunteered over 10,100 hours to 73 area organizations, including, but certainly not limited to, American Cancer Society, Red Cross, Ringling Museum, Selby Public Library, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Suncoast Community Blood Bank, Selah Freedom, and many more.
WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.
Jim Griffith, M.D. is a prime example of the generosity of our residents within the Sarasota community. Dr. Griffith has been a volunteer physician with the Friendship Center’s Rubin Medical Center for Healthy Aging for 18 years, where he receives no payment for his services. The center serves patients who are uninsured or have limited income, and is largely staffed by
retired or volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and nurses.
Dr. Griffith began working with the center after he retired and moved to Florida. “I wanted to do something useful,” he says. In 2015 alone, he spent 240 hours at the center, where he is involved in treating patients and other related activities. He also organizes the center’s medical library, completes required continuing education for his Florida medical license, attends weekly meetings at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and gives medical presentations — one of which will be given as a Health Matters presentation on April 18, entitled “Sleep Disorders.”
Jerry Kaplan spent over 385 hours volunteering with six different organizations in 2015 — including: Meals on Wheels, the Sarasota Education Foundation, Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, the Patterson Foundation, the Smith Care Center, and serving as a principal mentor for the Sarasota County school system.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of the things I’m involved in,” Jerry says. “I hope to make a contribution and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Jerry became involved in volunteering early on after he retired as a means of staying busy. Today, he discusses news topics every Monday in the Smith Care Center, evaluates programs and grants for the Sarasota Education Foundation, improves children’s reading skills through the Patterson Foundation, and with the help of his wife, Nancy, he works with Meals on Wheels every Tuesday.
WITHIN PLYMOUTH HARBOR.
There are also so many ways that residents give generously of their time within Plymouth Harbor. Some work in different capacities in the Smith Care Center, while others work closely with the Plymouth Harbor Foundation to better our educational opportunities and philanthropic endeavors. And while they may not necessarily consider it volunteering, residents devote time to enhancing the lives of their neighbors. Ted Rehl spends countless hours preparing for his annual performances, while Don Wallace brightened the lives of others with his plays. Also among our internal volunteers are the many residents who serve on the Residents Association Board of Directors and 20 committees that ensure Plymouth Harbor operates at its greatest capacity.
Terry and Maureen Aldrich exemplify this volunteerism. Terry, president of the Residents Association until he passes the torch in early April, dedicated himself to the position. He’s seen his peers do the same.
“There are roughly 170 residents who volunteer their time to serve Plymouth Harbor — so we’re talking a huge number of people and hours,” he says. “It’s been a great privilege of mine to see.”
As a retired psychotherapist, Terry also lends an ear when needed, and along with Maureen and Mary Allyn, he invites new residents to have dinner with them each week. For the last 10 years, Maureen has also devoted her time to tutoring English to priests — including Father Sebastian from St. Martha’s, who serves at Plymouth Harbor regularly.
A resident since 2003, Mary Allyn is the epitome of resident involvement, serving in many capacities. Not only is she a past president of the Residents Association, but Mary also served as chair of the Grounds Committee, chair of the Nominating Committee, colony director, member of the Long Range Planning Committee, and a member of the search committee to select Plymouth Harbor President/CEO Harry Hobson. Additionally, Mary is involved in Plymouth Harbor’s bird rookery, annually counting our native birds, and ensuring their proper habitat.
“I’ve done a lot of Plymouth Harbor service over the years,” she says. “And I enjoy it because it’s a lot like what I did professionally.”
It would take countless pages to portray the efforts of all our residents and staff, but one thing’s for sure — we’re lucky to call such generous individuals part of the Plymouth Harbor family.