When we began writing this column, it was the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 80th birthday celebration, which Michelle Obama transformed into a call for people to do a day of service for their communities. So we thought it the appropriate time to speak about what a friend characterizes as a “low-profile organization,” in which she and her husband enjoy volunteering. Though we know several thriving volunteer organizations in the hamlet, we had never heard of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which welcomes volunteers ages 55 and over.
Judy and Gene Samuelson are involved with the free RSVP program which, on a year-round Monday through Friday basis, offers reassurance over the phone to older and/or home bound residents from Montauk to Southampton. We’ve learned that the volunteers, a diverse group, many in their 70s or 80s themselves, make friendly calls to a client group on a rotating basis, working two or three hours weekly.
Those calls may be the only personal contact of the day for many. If a volunteer is unable to reach a client, they call the back-up provided, giving that friend, neighbor or relative notice that the senior needs to be checked. If the contact person is unavailable, the local police are called to make sure of the client’s well-being.
Every new client is visited when they enroll in the program, and can also request a home visit from time to time. There is a satellite program called “Volunteers of the Hamptons,” which serves the younger adult volunteers who are more able to make supervised visits to clients’ homes. The program is funded by its parent organization on Long Island, from private contributions and also by a modest annual grant from the town. RSVP works closely with the town’s Department of Social Services as well as the Police Department.
We all know that the demographics are changing and we are experiencing the aging of the East End, Montauk included. This makes the RSVP program an important factor in helping many oldsters to live independently in their homes. From what we understand, the program needs more publicity and public support. If any of our readers can profit by this service, or know someone who could, we suggest you call (631) 267-8371. You also can volunteer a few hours a week by contacting the same number.
Since we are on the subject of volunteering, there is a powerful need out here for helpers in the literacy program offered by Literacy Suffolk, Inc., according to Karen Rade, our library director. How about contacting the organization at (631) 286-1649? There is still an opportunity for volunteer training to be offered on Monday, February 2, from 5:15 to 6 p.m. at Rogers Memorial Library.
Volunteering seems to be the theme this week. Susan Raymond has been doing it for a very long time by offering Tai Chi classes at the library on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. This is a gift of Susan’s and, of course, it is open to all, free of charge.
And here’s another reminder that Professor Sean Tvelia of the Montauk Observatory organization will be at the library this Friday at 6 p.m. to lecture on the geologic history of life on earth. The title of the talk is “In Spite of Earth.” Again, weather permitting, there will be a “star party” after the talk at Theodore Roosevelt County Park at 7 p.m. Let’s hope the weather and skies will cooperate!
How about another good movie viewing experience with neighbors? This Thursday’s winter series film at the library at 7 p.m. is “Vantage Point,” which stars Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, Bruce McGill and Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt. It is classified as a thriller concerning a presidential assassination (we’re loathe to write the word) attempt, and is directed by Pete Travis.
We were pleased to receive the bulletin for the continuing education program to be held at the Montauk Public School. It starts the week of February 2. The program is quite comprehensive, offering 12 courses, from computer basics and lifesaving CPR to yoga. Please note: today is the last day for registration, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the school’s main lobby. It’s a great opportunity to cure the winter blahs, expand your knowledge and keep the neurons going.
Did you know that the Community Playhouse has recently opened to all a giant family volleyball game on Sundays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. until March 29. Sounds like good use of the facility and a great way to enjoy winter fun.
Montaukers have cause to celebrate a very recent event. There was a little note on recent Montauk sales in the Residence section of The Press last week. It recorded the sale of entertainer Dick Cavett’s 77 acres of oceanfront land to the town, county and state, a deal that The Nature Conservancy has been working for over the course of 20 years. The property, which is next to the 122 acres of Amsterdam Beach along the Atlantic, has gorgeous scenic bluffs and freshwater wetlands that support several rare species. It is going to add to Montauk’s rich legacy of open space that we, our children and future generations will be able to enjoy.