There are many ways to get involved with A Little Help! At A Little Help, everyone is a member of our community and everyone has a story to share. We are forging reciprocal relationships by which our volunteering neighbors and our elder members are both giving and receiving a little help. Read our stories below and navigate the menu to learn more and sign up!
A Little Help in Action
Doris is one of our newer older adult members. Thanks to the generosity of our other partners, we have been able to grow into Park Hill where Doris has lived for over six decades. Doris needs A Little Help. Her husband passed some years back and her son lives in another state. She likes to have her yard look nice for the neighbors and needs help with household chores from time to time. As a longtime member of Montview Presbyterian in Park Hill, Doris was getting help from fellow churchgoers, but they don’t have a system to coordinate volunteers on a regular basis. Through our partnership with Montview, Doris and other Park Hill seniors are able to get the care they need and deserve.
One of the biggest things Doris loves about A Little Help Park Hill is having an audience. She has lived an amazing life and the ALH Park Hill intergenerational activities give her a chance to tell her stories. In April, she joined other neighborhood seniors at Scouts and Sages. At this event, Doris was able to share her experience of caring for President Eisenhower at Fitzsimons after he had a heart attack. This was a big deal! A young African American nurse caring for the President of the United States nine years before the Civil Rights Act was signed. The little girls were fascinated by their living history lesson. In May, Doris sipped a margarita at our Fiesta de Mayo Fundraiser while she visited with volunteers and other elder ALH members. In June, Doris sat on her porch and shared stories of meeting and shaking hands with Lena Horne and Mahalia Jackson with the crew of eight folks who were trimming her bushes, cleaning her gutters, and washing her windows for Service Saturday!
Later that month, at the ALH Park Hill picnic, Doris sat holding court. She kept the others at the table mesmerized as she shared her story of meeting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he preached at Montview. She chuckled as she told of Dr. King getting locked in a bathroom at the church and having to climb out the window. As you can see, Doris deserves an audience. A Little Help provides her an audience among many other services and activities to help her thrive in her own home and neighborhood. There are many other seniors like Doris in many other neighborhoods. The investment A.V. Hunter Trust continues to make in A Little Help allows us to provide those services to more elders in more neighborhoods.
Rose joined at Washington Park Cares’ inception in 2008, when the organization was just a few neighbors with a vision to help seniors remain in their homes. Through the years, she has gotten weekly rides to her hair appointments and grocery store, which is a big social outing for her. Although she received rides, Rose did not participate in any of the social activities that were organized by the group. With new leadership and a new name, in 2012, A Little Help created a new program- Service Saturday!. This service event occurs every spring and fall when we have teams of volunteers help our older adults with their household and yard chores, pitching in for jobs like washing windows, raking leaves, relocating furniture, dusting high fans, changing light bulbs, and weeding gardens. As we initiated the event, Rose was cautious about letting so many “strangers” work on her chores. The first Service Saturday!, she would only allow our volunteers to help with her raking. After she interacted with the volunteers at her home, comprised of three adults, a teenager, and two six year olds, she warmed up and gave us a long list for the spring tasks.
After this initial success engaging Rose in our intergenerational programming, we reached out with a new program called Scouts and Sages, during which we have seniors connect with a local Brownie troop through stories, games, crafts, and dessert! As an organization, we began reaching out to our members more frequently with check-in calls and invitations on the phone- and much to our happy surprise, Rose was finally interested in coming to one of our events. It turns out that Rose had helped start and lead the Brownie troop at Steele Elementary for her daughter 70 years ago! Rose came to Scouts and Sages meeting and had a great time talking with the Daisies and Brownies. They interviewed her about growing up in Denver and she captivated the girls by telling them that the houses were new when she grew up and that she had to shovel coal in the winter! The girls were shrieking with excitement at the thought of this story of Denver history. Because she enjoyed herself so much at Scouts and Sages, Rose has started coming to more of our events, including our summer picnics. At the first picnic she attended, the youngest attendee was 3 and Rose was the eldest at 95, with every generation represented in between. Before her participation, it seemed that the longer she has lived, the more isolated she has become, as she outlives her small pension and her social circle. Without ALH, her only outlets would be Meals on Wheels volunteers and folks at her church. But now we’re filling in her social reach by connecting with her pastor and neighbors, we’re allowing her to be and to feel like a valued elder in her neighborhood.
Tracy and Ben
Several months ago, a speech therapist named Tracy called the A Little Help office in search of help. She and her husband Ben are in their late forties and Ben has recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. He was a successful accountant who is now no longer able to work and has a difficult time parenting their two young children. Tracy now feels like she is moonlighting as the full-time caregiver for her husband while managing her practice. She has also become, almost suddenly, a single parent. When Tracy called, she was at her wit’s end.
After initially meeting with Tracy and Ben, we were able to connect them with Susie and Jacob, a couple who has been going through a similar situation for the past ten years through our Care Share caregiver respite program. Care Share is an A Little Help program that creates a space where people in any stage of caregiving can share their stories while providing a coordinating service for willing neighbors in the community to share the care. Tracy and Susie were able to share stories, and Tracy learned of different support sources Susie has been using to alleviate some of the pressure of caregiving. Tracy and Susie became fast friends and chat on a regular basis. A Little Help was also able to put Ben to work as a volunteer. Ben walks to seniors’ homes when it snows to shovel their sidewalks. In the fall, he is one of our best rakers. On our big Service Saturdays!, Ben is able to work with Tracy and their kids on a team of volunteers raking and doing other yard work. It was great for the kids and Tracy to see Ben thriving and great for Ben to experience sharing the fulfillment of a job well done with his family. We also provide A Little Help for Tracy by coordinating one of our other volunteers accompany Ben to the grocery store to do the family shopping. Ben knows he is pitching in and Tracy has one less task to complete that week.
Join our community as a volunteer, member, and donor to help A Little Help thrive! A little help goes a long way…