Originally Published in the December 2018 – January 2019 issue of the Corcoran News
1845 East Lake Street
Have you ever driven by this mid-century brick building on the corner of Lake Street and Longfellow Avenue and wondered just what Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly is? I was pretty sure they were non-profit, but unsure if it was a church or some sort of teen mentoring thing. At a recent Corcoran Neighborhood business mixer, I had the pleasure of meeting LuAnne Speeter, Director of Communications and Marketing at Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly.
LuAnne says the best way to understand the organization is to focus on the “Friends of the Elderly” portion of their name, as their primary goal is to provide companionship to elders who may not have friends or family to visit them. The idea is to help relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation and to build lasting friendships for all those involved. Volunteers receive training and are paired with an elder in their community, who then become Visiting Companions to each other. The volunteer commits to two, two-hour visits per month for at least a six month period. The two Visiting Companions get to decide just what type of visit they want, and what they want to do during that time. Some may just chat, others may play cards, while some may opt to go get coffee. It’s entirely up to the duo and their interests, health and needs.
In addition to these visits, LBFE also coordinates other programs, such as “Friendship and Flowers,” where volunteers bring a monthly gift bag filled with cookies and fresh flowers to older adults who are homebound or in nursing homes. This is a shorter 15-minute visit on the third Saturday of each month and is a perfect option for families or those with less time.
Another service is LBFE’s Let’s Do Lunch unique monthly luncheon. The relaxed café-like environment is designed for the older LGBTQ crowd and their allies in order to reduce isolation, promote self-advocacy and build community.
If you’d like to know more about volunteering with LBFE, visit their website above. You’re also invited to participate in one of their three major fundraisers: the Friends for Life Lunch on March 7, Wingo (Wine-tasting and Bingo) on June 6 and the Not Alone 4K on September 29.