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Friendly Visitors and Strong Partnerships at Senior Services of Alexandria

by Mary Giordano & Mary Lee Anderson

friendly visitor

Every week in the City of Alexandria, more than sixty volunteers visit a senior for an hour or more in their home, apartment, assisted living or healthcare community through the Friendly Visitor Program of Senior Services of Alexandria.

The program is designed to enhance the quality of life of socially isolated seniors by providing social interaction, mental stimulation and emotional support.

Recently, a volunteer, Paul, was matched with “Mr. S.”, who was the Clerk of the Supreme Court during the time Thurgood Marshall was a Justice of the Supreme Court. As a videographer, Paul plans to create an oral history of the many fascinating stories “Mr. S” tells during their visits.

Another volunteer, Megan, is visiting “Mrs. V.”, who received a Master’s Degree in Mathematics in the 1940s and was one of the first women to work on scientific computers in the country. Megan plans to bring the movie, “Hidden Figures”, on an upcoming visit to watch together.

A few of the volunteers bring their dogs or small children on their weekly visits. Some pairs play cards or Scrabble together or go to activities within the assisted living community including musical performances, bingo and chair yoga. The unanimous sentiment of both the seniors and volunteers in this unique program is the realization that what starts as a weekly visit becomes much more than that – a special friendship.

Senior Services of Alexandria and Rebuilding Together Alexandria, are teaming up to provide free in-home safety inspections for seniors who currently receive Meals on Wheels. This program came about from the “Meals on Wheels America” campaign to provide seniors with a “more than a meal” support so they can remain in their homes as they age.

Earlier this summer, “Meals on Wheels” clients received a flyer from Senior Services of Alexandria for a free home safety check by Rebuilding Together Alexandria. Several clients requested free home repair services from Rebuilding Together. Our Senior Services of Alexandria staff responded and developed an “action plan” to correct any hazards. We will continue to provide the information about the safety checks to any new clients added to Meals on Wheels program.

“Conducting a home safety check can go a long way in preventing problems that could lead to a fall, other injury, or loss of independence,” stated Katharine Dixon, President & CEO of Rebuilding Together Alexandria. “By spotting these hazards and taking some simple steps to correct them, seniors can continue to live at home safely.”

At the core of the “Meals on Wheels” service is a nutritious meal, companionship and a watchful eye on the health and safety of our seniors. Adding the home safety inspection is just another way of ensuring that Alexandria seniors are remaining safe in their own homes and aging with independence and dignity.

If you know of a senior living in Alexandria who would benefit from this program or have an interest in volunteering, please Mary Giordano, Program Director, at (703)836-4414 Ex. 120 or by email at

Around Town: 9/23-9/29

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Metro Mambo with Dance Place

For the third year, Jim Byers, host of WPFW 89.3 FM’s Latin Flavor, presents rare, live and unreleased recordings of Palladium Ballroom-era Latin music legends. Featuring archival gems from Tito Puente’s biographer Joe Conzo, Sr., the event culminates with an open dance floor and live Latin band.

When: Saturday, September 23, 2017 (2:30 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee: $15-$30
Contact: Amanda, (202) 269-1601
For more information: click here

COQUITRUCOS with Dance Place

COQUITRUCOS or El Salvador meets Borinquen brings together four elders of the DC Latinx arts community in a multimedia performance. Puerto Rican bassist Pepe Gonzalez, Puerto Rican poet Sammy Miranda, El Salvadorian percussionist Ivan Navas and El Salvadorian poet Quique Aviles present an evening of music and poetry inspired by their lives in the heart of DC’s Latinx community.

When: Saturday, September 23, 2017 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th St NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee: $15-$30
Contact: Amanda Blythe, (202) 269-1601
For more information: click here

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Teddy Bear 5K & 1K with Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center

Proceeds benefit Falls Church McLean Children’s Center which has been providing young children from low- and moderate-income families a solid foundation for success in school and in life since 1968.

When: Sunday, September 24, 2017 (2:00 PM – 5:30 PM)
Where: 1k-Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center; 5k-Pimmit Hills Park, 7230 Idylwood Rd, Falls Church, VA 22043
Fee: Early Registration: $35 for 5k, $15 for 1k; Race Day: $40 for 5k, $15 for 1k
Contact: Falls Church McLean Children’s Center, (703) 534-4907
For more information: click here

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Volunteer Training: Litigating Protection Order Cases for Domestic Violence Victims with DC Volunteer Lawyers Project

Help domestic violence victims obtain “stay-away” orders against their abusers, and gain supervised in-court litigation experience in a short time frame – on average, just 8-12 days per case. This training provides an overview of the process for obtaining a CPO on behalf of domestic violence survivors. Topics include: dynamics of domestic violence, the Intra-Family Offenses Act, interviewing clients, obtaining evidence, and handling contested hearings.

When: Thursday, September 28, 2017 (10:00 AM – 3:00 PM)
Where: Paul Weiss, 2001 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006
Contact: Emilia Plater-Zyberk, (202) 885-5542
For more information: click here

Friday, September 29, 2017

DC Casineros with Dance Place

World-renowned salsa company DC Casineros perform their signature blend of Cuban dance styles, including Rueda de Casino, Afro-Cuban Rumba, Cha Cha Chá, Mambo, Danzón and other Cuban Popular dances. With special guest performers and live music, the Casineros build healthy communities through the art and culture of Cuban Dance. Performance in the theater followed by a rollicking social dance party – get up and dance with us!

When: Friday, September 29, 2017 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE, Washington, DC 20017 map
Fee: $15-$30
Contact: Amanda Blythe, (202) 269-1601
For more information: click here

Around Town 9/8-9/15

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Saturday, September 9, 2017
Dance Place Family Day
Dance Place

Get the Dance Place experience for FREE and introduce your child to their neighbors and to the arts. All of Brookland / Edgewood comes out for this annual celebration of our thriving, artistic community and you’re invited! Get the kids moving in sample classes, make something beautiful with guided arts and crafts and so much more!

When: Saturday, September 9, 2017 (9:30 AM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Contact: Amanda Blythe, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here