New volunteer program will help seniors in SLC

A new program, Community Friendship Volunteer Program (CFVP), will be partnering with the Community Health Center of the North Country (CHCNC) to provide assistance to seniors in St. Lawrence County. Pictured from left: New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen; St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle; Becky Preve, executive director of Association on Aging in New York; Andrea Montgomery, director of St. Lawrence County Office of the Aging; Susan Schrader, director of friendship program in Franklin County; and Ray Babowicz, director of Communications, Government Relations, and Marketing for the Community Health Center of the North Country. Matt Curatolo/The Journal

OGDENSBURG — The New York State Office of the Aging is contributing $25,000 to jump start a new program in St. Lawrence County called the Community Friendship Volunteer Program that will have volunteers assist seniors with a variety of every day tasks.

The program, Community Friendship Volunteer Program (CFVP), helps build age-friendly communities by ensuring older residents remain in their own homes, retain their independence, have access to services and recreation in their community, and remain out of long-term care facilities unless that level of care is required.

The program is partnering with the Community Health Center of the North Country (CHCNC). At a news conference at CHCNC’s Ogdensburg location at 102 Ford St., St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle said that she was pleased to announce the new program and partnership with St. Lawrence County that will help older adults age in place.

“It is called the Community Friendship Volunteer Program, a program where volunteers help seniors with a variety of tasks – grocery shopping, friendly visiting, meal prep, laundry, telephone reassurance, going out to dinner or events and so much more. This program is being supported by the Community Health Center of the North Country and we are so appreciative of their sponsorship to implement this outstanding program in St. Lawrence County,” said Doyle.

The $25,000 contribution by the New York State Office for the Aging will help get the program started, according to Doyle.

“I would like to thank the acting director of the New York State Office for the Aging, Greg Olson and his team for their outstanding support, vision, leadership and advocacy on behalf of older adults,” she said.

Andrea Montgomery, director of St. Lawrence County Office of the Aging, said that there are over 24,000 older adults in the county who all have the same goal - to age in place – in a safe, happy and healthy manner.

“It is services like the Community Friendship Volunteer Program that are critical to helping them do just that. I am beyond excited that this amazing program is being implemented in our county and want to thank the Community Health Center of the North Country for bringing this program to St. Lawrence County. The Community Friendship Volunteer Program has been a huge success for years in Franklin County and I look forward to the countless numbers of seniors it will help here,” said Montgomery.

Also attending the press conference was New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen.

“CFVP is unlike any other program found in the North Country region. Many individuals lose touch with their community and, unfortunately, do not have the support they need to carry out daily activities. CFVP was created to directly respond to this need,” stated Olsen, “Not only do the recipients benefit from this form of assistance, but we also know that there is a positive impact on a person’s health and wellness when they volunteer to help others. We are thrilled to support this important volunteer program and its expansion into St. Lawrence County.”

Montgomery said that volunteers are needed to make this program a success.

“In order for this program to work, they need volunteers! If you have even an hour a week or a month to dedicate to a local senior, please reach out. At the Office for the Aging, volunteers are a key component of our success and allowing us to assist thousands of older adults in our county each year,” said Montgomery, “It is an incredible feeling to know you have made a difference in the life of an older adult. They are always so appreciative of the support and show that appreciation with smiles, hugs, tears, thank you cards, letters, and sometimes, even homemade, delicious treats.”

If you are interested in learning more about your opportunity to help a local senior age in place, please the Community Friendship Volunteer Program at (315) 379-8345 or call the Office for the Aging at (315) 386-4730.

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