Monday, August 31, 2009

Make it Happen Mondays

All over the USA, Seniors are using their years of experience and knowledge in a servant leadership capacity in their communities. They are volunteering their services when needed. On Mondays we are looking forward to sharing the stories of some of these "make it happen" senior volunteers along with interesting volunteering opportunities.

Spring Chickens

Some time ago I had a brand new student come to class and say, "I don't know if I can do this--I'm 80 years old."

My reply to him was, "For goodness sake, you're a spring chicken!"

He looked a bit startled, so I started to tell him about some of the people I knew about who were in their 80s and 90s.

How about Mavis Lindgren who ran a marathon when she was 90 (there was an article about her on this blog on July 19th).

Or Marie Muenster Galloway who is 97 years old. She drove herself and her paintings to the Hannah Walker Art Show in Luling, Texas, spent the day there and then drove herself home! (Her picture was on the blog post for June 8th)! Bill Cardwell, the sponsor for the art show, said, “Marie is undoubtedly one of the most amazing people I have ever met.”

How about Don L. one of my students at the college where I teach. Started learning Photoshop when he was 90.

And here is another remarkable gentleman that I learned about reading Senior

Senior Citizen Volunteers

Peace Corps’ Oldest Volunteer
Now Teaching Science in Ghana

84-Year-Old from Dayton, Ohio,
lost wife two years ago, seeks new challenges

Aug. 27, 2008 - Ralph H. Bernstein, 84, of Dayton, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps, making him the oldest currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer in the world. The octogenarian is joining the ranks along with hundreds of older Americans who are putting their considerable life skills and experience to good use around the world through service in the Peace Corps.

Bernstein departed for Ghana on June 7, and after completing his pre-service training was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on August 19. Bernstein will now officially begin his Peace Corps service and work as a secondary education Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching biology, chemistry and physics to students in a Ghanaian community.

Bernstein cites the fact that his wife passed away two years ago, and looking for both a break from the past and a new set of challenges as his motivating factors for joining the Peace Corps. Says Bernstein, "I was especially eager to contribute in an area where my background might be of greater value than in the U.S."

Bernstein looks to carry out his service diligently, but knows how to keep things in perspective. "No one of us can cure all ills," he says, "but we can each contribute and make a difference on some scale."

During his training, Bernstein will live with a host family in Ghana to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, he will then serve for two years as a teacher in Ghana, living in a manner similar to people in his host country.

Bernstein is a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering, graduating in 1945. Bernstein previously worked as an instructor in mathematics for the US Navy. He has also taught a variety of engineering subjects and has worked for paper mills, electric utilities, municipal solid waste and wastewater concerns, and has carried out environmental research.

Bernstein, who has four daughters and nine grandchildren, says that family, friends and coworkers have enthusiastically supported his new endeavor.

Said Daughter Ellen Fultz, "All of us knew that he had so much energy and knowledge, and that he could give back in a way that would be unique for a man of his age. I know it means two precious years away from us, but I think it will be the start of the next great chapter of his life."

To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit the website:


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