Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven

This week we welcome guest blogger Kate Walton, MA, Executive Director of the Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven.  You can reach Kate directly at kwalton@carenewhaven.org

 Albertus is proud to support the work of IVCG.  You can help by participating in the Cook and Care Walk-a-Thon, hosted by Albertus Magnus College on October 20, 2013.  Learn more at Cook and Care Walk-a-Thon or visit their Facebook page here

Back in 1984 an extraordinary handful of local New Haven folks from a bunch of different churches, temples, synagogues and mosques got together and responded to an extraordinary opportunity.  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had put forth national funding to encourage interfaith dialogue between congregations for the purpose of creating volunteer services for the elderly.  Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven was selected for funding in the first national round, and now some 30 years later, this small organization continues its vital mission.

Who knew just how many little old ladies and gentlemen were out there living well into their 90’s and even some 100’s in their own home sweet homes?  “Aging at Home” is now a “model” these days but when I became director of IVCG just over a year ago I knew that IVCG had pioneered the model a long time ago.  Back in the early 1990’s,  I found myself in the sandwich generation when Parkinson’s Disease  ravaged my amazing mother and I heard there was a program of friendly visiting and neighborly assistance.  One phone call resulted in a wonderful lady materializing that proved to become a dear friend to my mother and a loyal companion for the remaining years of her life.  Much later on, when offered the position to lead Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers after many years as a human service non-profit administrator; I knew that this was an opportunity to both give back for the help given to my own family, and to work for a very worthy endeavor.  Only now do I fully comprehend how prescient and essential was the thinking of IVCG’s founders.

According to the 2014 Action Plan of the CT Commission on Aging, during the next 15 years the 65+ population in Connecticut will increase by an astounding 64%.   The population 21 to 65 years of age will decline by 2%.   Clearly, Connecticut needs to be expanding creative and responsive programming that provides strategic support that enables elders to continue living independently in their own homes for way longer than they would be able to – without strategic assistance.   Friendships, reassurance and the sharing of intellectual, artistic and cultural interests make life profoundly more meaningful for the homebound elder – and the volunteers who give of themselves.  Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven provides about 500 hours of free service each month transporting to medical appointments, taking elders food shopping and visiting them in their homes.

Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven is supported by the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut and our partnering congregations, donors, and hardworking dedicated volunteers.   We also partner with other local non-profit service organizations to provide Thanksgiving meals to over 800 local homebound seniors on Thanksgiving Day, and to raise funds through the Cook and Care Walkathon  – hosted this year for the first time at Albertus Magnus College.

NEXT WEEK – Learn more about the Cook and Care Collaboration.

“An education that …is practical in its application”

As part of the ePortfolio classes Albertus Magnus College students have an opportunity to write about the mission statement of the college and how this statement impacts their lives now as college students and in the future.  Student Matthew Mezzei from Wallingford, CT, a member of the Class of 2016, shared his thoughts on the mission statement promise to “…provides men and women with an education that … is practical in its application.”

The Albertus mission statement is something I found interesting when applying for schools last year.  One of the things that stuck out was that it says the school “…provides men and women with an education that … is practical in its application”.  For students today it is essential to go to college.  The purpose of going to college is to gain experience which will lead to future employment.  Therefore learning what you will need to know for a particular career is very important.  By teaching students essentials, Albertus graduates will have a degree that is more than a piece of paper.  They will be prepared for the career they have chosen.

As an Albertus Magnus student I have seen the importance the college places on relevant work experiences.  I have already begun teacher observations for the Education Program this semester.  I am able to see how a class operates and learn teaching methods from experienced faculty.  These opportunities will enable me to graduate with a degree that “…is practical in its application”.

Albertus Magnus College also encourages student and teacher interactions.  I keep in contact with the majority of my teachers.  It is important for me to maintain these positive relations as I move toward my degree.  The close-knit community of Albertus encourages me to be a …”responsible, productive citizen and lifelong learner”.

I would respond to a prospective student positively about Albertus.  I would not mention the mission statement specifically, but I would bring up the fact that the school emphasizes its close-knit community and it is something that is not found at many colleges.  Every teacher knows you by name and most students are familiar with nearly everyone.  It is a great feeling when you are known by your teacher and not seen as just another student.  I would make note of the diverse student body and friendly environment of the campus.  In addition I would also mention how the college already placed me in a relevant work setting to what I will be doing after I graduate, and I am only a freshmen.  Overall, Albertus is unique in a good way and prospective students should look at the college as a possible choice for their future.

To read more about Albertus’ Dominican Heritage click here.

Dominican Tradition: The Search for Truth

Introduction:

As part of the ePortfolio classes Albertus Magnus College students have an opportunity to write about the mission statement of the college and how this statement impacts their lives now as college students and in the future. Student Alisia Cintron, East Haven native and member of the Class of 2016, shared her thoughts on the “search for truth in all its dimensions.”

albertus-shieldThe central focus of the mission statement, “the search for truth in all its dimensions,” resonates with me because I feel that I have learned so much about myself during this first year at Albertus. In a way I have taken a journey to find myself and my truth. This freshmen year has been full of trial and error for me. I’ve had to figure out a school and work schedule and how to balance various areas of my life.

In addition to personal growth I have widened my perspective about the world based on what I have learned in my classes. As a result I have developed opinions about political and social issues. In my Insight class, especially, I have been challenged to look outside of my immediate environment to see what is going on in the world. For example, in my current project I have researched gender roles and policies in other countries and found I now have strong opinions on this subject.

I will live the mission statement by continuing to discover who I am and my place in the world while also keeping an open heart. I found that the religious and ethical values of Albertus promote community involvement and caring about others. I hope in the future I will live by these principles.

If a student were to ask me about this college I would say I have met some incredible people. All of the teachers I have met so far enjoy their jobs. I can tell this because they want us to succeed in our studies. The students have welcomed me with kindness and respect. There are many opportunities to be part of the Albertus community through sports and activities and it is up to each student to decide how they want to be connected with others.

The mission of finding truth can only happen when one seizes the opportunity and is willing to learn and grow. Albertus provides the environment for both.

To read more about Albertus’ Dominican Heritage go to www.albertus.edu/about-us/our-history-traditions.php.