Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Institute of Gerontology Honors Senior Volunteers

On May 18, 2016, the Institute of Gerontology (IOG) of the University of the District of Columbia hosted the 36th Annual Senior Volunteer Recognition Day in celebration of Older Americans Month. The keynote address was delivered by University President Ronald Mason.

"I've noticed that most elders are optimists. If you hang around and listen, you can hear the funniest things sometimes,” President Mason addressed the audience before sharing a number of humorous anecdotes involving the seniors in his life. “You don't stop laughing because you get old; you grow old because you stop laughing. So keep laughing, stay young and enjoy your life."

The event honors and thank the 89 volunteers, who devote thousands of hours each year toward meeting the needs of the District’s growing population of senior residents. The Institute’s signature programs which include the Senior Companion Volunteer Program, the Respite Aide Volunteer Program, the Senior Tuition Program and the Bodywise Senior Exercise Program, collectively provide service to over 6,500 older residents of the District of Columbia.

The Senior Companion and Respite Aide programs promote seniors helping seniors through volunteerism. The programs help to preserve the independence of residents of the District of Columbia, supporting low income and disable older persons 55 years and older with high quality and compassionate volunteer service. With the help of senior volunteers, the Senior Companion and the Respite Aide programs improve the lives of seniors who are in need of assistants in order to maintain living in their homes and communities, avoiding institutionalization. Volunteers work up to 20 hours per week, five days a week. The programs are supported by the DC Office of Aging.

“On behalf of the DC Office of Aging, the Commission on Aging and our Senior Service Network, we'd like to thank all volunteers for putting their time into helping seniors age in place in this age-friendly city,” said Garret King, Chief of Staff of the DC Office of Aging. “You all are one of the most valuable resources of this city and what makes DC so great. The DC Office of Aging recognizes you not only today, but every day."

Mr. Grant, an alumnus of UDC, also commented on the new Student Center Ballroom, noting that it might be an ideal location for an agency retreat.

The Mistress of Celebration, Dr. Connie Webster, Associate Provost for Academic Programs, was also honored for her work and contribution to the Institute of Gerontology. "We really need your input to make sure we're getting it right. And that we will continue to do so, for you."

Pat Thomas was also a recipient for her work with the Bodywise Senior Exercise Program. The third honoree was Dr. Elgloria Harrison, who was honored for helping to move the Institute forward.

“Thank you for all of the work that you do; and we hope we're of service to you in engaging you in our learning programs so that we can continue to provide the best service possible for our senior residents in the District of Columbia,” stated CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara to the honorees.

The event concluded with the presentation of service awards for volunteers who gave five, 10 and 15 years of service to IOG and musical selections by UDC student Ms. Marissa Harris, who brought the audience to their feet.

The Institute of Gerontology of the University of the District of Columbia is part of the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, a division of CAUSES. Visit for more information or contact Ms. Claudia John at or (202) 274-6659. 

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