Diablo Valley – Assisteens Reach Out to Isolated Community Members

Established in 1977, Assisteens®, an auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley, accepts applications from tweens and teens entering grades 7-12 in the fall of each year. These energetic game changers commit to a minimum of 35 volunteer hours per year. Activities include philanthropic community service programs, fundraising, monthly meetings and special events. As a result, Assisteens learn the value of volunteerism while developing leadership and organizational skills.

One truly gratifying project involves Assisteens writing cards or letters to TeleCare homebound clients and senior living residents. At Kensington Senior Residential Living, located in Walnut Creek, Assisteens conduct four bi-monthly events, known as Season for Seniors. They include painting with seniors in October, making ornaments in December, playing balloon volleyball and making Valentines in February and painting flowerpots in which to plant flowers in April.

Understandably, the Shelter-in-Place mandate has pre-empted Assisteens’ gestures of good will. Undaunted, several Assisteens approached Assisteens Auxiliary Coordinator Linda Benatar to ask if they could make cards to send to the residents of Kensington. Please note that the mere purchase of cards would not suffice. Assisteens sought to fill their idle hours with meaningful activity. They wanted their gesture to come from the heart.

Another Assisteens member contacted Ms. Benatar requesting that the auxiliary and their families be allowed to make cards and send letters to TeleCare clients, i.e., the homebound who also receive reassurance phone calls. As it happens, Assisteens complete this very task effortlessly when attending monthly meetings.

Assisteens Liaison Sally Ryan joined Ms. Benatar to address the logistics of securing Board approval concerning client confidentiality, collecting the cards and letters, addressing the envelopes and mailing the completed effort to the soon-to-be-delighted recipients.

Defying the perception “It’s all about me,” Assisteens rose above personal disruption and isolation to reach out to people who might otherwise become invisible. Their impact has virtually compounded, in that they provided an example for adults to follow, as well.