Local county legislators recently joined personnel from the Warwick Friendly Visitor Program (FVP) in a broadcast hosted by WTBQ Radio. The broadcast was intended to help publicize the service and to educate the public and legislators as to its value.
The Friendly Visitor Program is operated in partnership with the Orange County Office for the Aging, Jewish Family Service and the Town of Warwick. Program Coordinator Marie Luca, Board Chairperson Vince Copello and O.C. legislators John Vero, Paul Ruszkiewicz and Barry Cheney participated in the program.
The broadcast offered a description of the program as a service to help Town residents remain in their own home for as long as possible by matching local volunteers with residents who need support. Copello compiled a Board of Advisors in January 2017, targeting the official program start for May 2017.
Volunteers readily stepped forward and ongoing volunteer training is being offered. Neighbors in need of assistance learned of the program through newspapers articles, circulars that have been distributed by managers in senior housing developments, palm cards in local medical offices, discharge packets from hospitals, the Town of Warwick website, word of mouth, and previous WTBQ broadcasts.
The Town of Warwick has targeted a goal of serving 100 neighbors in its first year of operation. The FVP Board of Advisors meets monthly to shape a successful outcome and is confident that the goal will be easily met by May 2018. The rapid program growth in Warwick has exceeded the growth in the other Orange County towns. The fact that Warwick has a senior population of 8,000, an impressive 25 percent of the total town population, may well be a contributing factor to its rapid growth.
Another contributing factor is that Board Chairperson Vince Copello has 10 years of experience with the Office for the Aging that includes serving as Board Chairperson. He also served as president of the Seward Seniors in Florida, NY for a few years, as well as a long list of community services that make him ideal for organizing and managing the success of this program.
The recent appointment of Maria Luca as the FVP Coordinator is a logical progression in the program development. Marie is a retired educator with strong organizational and interpersonal skills. She is currently becoming familiar with the individuals who have received service to date and is interviewing those who are applying for assistance. Not all seniors are suited for receiving help through the FVP. In Marie’s role, she will help steer individuals to resources that may better fit their needs if that is the case.
Volunteer Training on Mar. 5
The next training will be held on Mon., Mar. 5. Neighbors in need of assistance can also call the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick, NY. There is no charge for the service, which is available for older adults and adults with disabilities. Volunteers make a difference by helping with grocery shopping, helping with transportation to local appointments, home visits, chatting on the phone, and clerical assistance. To become a volunteer, call the Town Hall at 986-1124, ext. 400.