The William Way LGBT Community Center was recently notified that it will receive a grant to fund its outreach to LGBT senior citizens.
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging will provide the center $10,000 for its Connecting Generations program, which the organization instituted about three years ago.
’Dolph Ward Goldenburg, executive director of the center, said William Way has received PCA funding in the past, but this is the first time the agency is contributing money toward a specific component of the initiative, called the Friendly Visitor Program.
Goldenburg explained that the center identifies elderly community members and connects them with local volunteers who visit and forge relationships with them.
“This program is an essential center service because it links some of the most isolated members of our community with a friendly visitor who cares about them,” he said. “In many cases, our clients are homebound or living in a residential facility and the friendly visitor is one of their last connections to the community.”
The center will use the grant to recruit new visitors and senior participants, creating 30 new pairs.
There are currently several seniors and volunteers waiting to be matched, but Goldenburg said the pool needs to be expanded to find the best matches.
“We recruit the volunteers and identify seniors and do a screening to find a good match between them,” he said. “Right now, we have a few seniors on the waiting list and a few volunteers on the waiting list, and while the volunteers are all appropriate for the program, as are the seniors, we don’t have a good match. So our main initiative will be to go out and recruit both more seniors and more volunteers, because the more people we have involved, the higher the potential for successful matches.”
All of the center’s senior programs have a total budget of just under $40,000, and Goldenburg noted the PCA grant will enable the center to “reshift its focus” to concentrate on the continued growth of the Friendly Visitor Program.