INTRODUCTION TO INSPIRATION
The organizations listed below were found to be inspirational and aspirational by the City of Gloucester's Council on Aging. Our goal is to see programs and services, similar to those offered by FriendshipWorks and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, made available to Gloucester’s seniors. The brief listings below provide internet links to the websites and other resources providing greater detail on the programs and services these organizations provide. The Council on Aging has learned that great programs and services can be developed through collaboration and partnering with residents, agencies, interested parties, and seniors to bring new opportunities for programs and services to enhance the lives of all seniors in Gloucester. We hope you will join us in these efforts. If you would like to help develop programs in Gloucester, like FriendshipWorks and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, please contact the Gloucester Council on Aging to arrange attendance at our monthly meetings so we can work together to develop and implement programs for seniors like those offered by FriendshipWorks and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.
105 Chauncy Street, 8th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, Executive Director
FriendshipWorks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Boston that works to reduce elder isolation and build healthier communities by creating connection and engagement between elders and community volunteers. For almost 40 years, FriendshipWorks has provided their five core programs all designed to help older adults learn, share and find purpose as they age: Friendly Visiting, Medical Escorts, Friendly Helpers, PetPals and MusicWorks. Each year, some 1,300 adults over the age of 60 benefit from FriendshipWorks’ services, which are offered at no charge. To apply for services, or to complete a FriendshipWorks volunteer application, visit fw4elders.org.
In their signature Friendly Visitors program, FriendshipWorks uses a unique, in-depth assessment process to match a volunteer with an older adult to visit once a week. Both benefit physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually from the wisdom, shared experiences and different perspectives of the relationship. Volunteers are thoroughly vetted through their application, background checked, and trained by FriendshipWorks before any matches are made. FriendshipWorks’ leadership and highly personalized approach has received national recognition.
Research shows that friendship and connection are important social determinants of health, impacting both physical and emotional health. You can read about some of the special connections between elders and volunteers that have been fostered through FriendshipWorks by visiting fw4elders.org. In addition, WCVB Boston Channel 5 news, has reported on the great programs at FriendshipWorks which you can view and read at WCVB Boston FriendshipWorks Report.
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
321 E. 25th Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center is Baltimore’s oldest non-profit housing provider with over 125,000 families served since 1968. The Mission of St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Inc. is to create and maintain equal housing opportunities for low and moderate-income people, primarily in Baltimore City, and to encourage and support strong and diverse neighborhoods. St. Ambrose provides housing counseling, homeownership counseling, foreclosure prevention, financial counseling, housing development, homes for sale, legal service, rental services, and home sharing. Information for this resource can be found by visiting St. Ambrose's website. The independent publication SHELTERFORCE reviewed the work of St. Ambrose in a 2021 article entitled “Continuing the Legacy: Keeping Longtime Residents in Their Homes.” The article can be viewed by visiting: shelterforce.org. The article focuses on St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center helping residents, especially legacy senior residents, retain their homes to avoid foreclosure through workshops, legal services, and funding repairs to maintain the value of senior’s homes. The repair funding program helps seniors stay in their homes as well as helping the families of the seniors who inherit the house. St. Ambrose oversees a home sharing and a host home program that matches people searching for affordable housing with homeowners, including seniors, who have a spare bedroom to rent. Using living compatibility information, renters are matched with homeowners. St. Ambrose stresses socializing and companionship for senior homeowners under the home sharing and host home programs. Approximately 60 percent of the home sharing clients see this as a long-term housing arrangement. The programs are focused on aiding seniors with companionship and extra income to meet the homeowner’s needs. St. Ambrose also aids seniors in filing for property tax relief, with legal aid for housing issues, and with estate planning. Helping seniors with estate planning assure their homes and assets go to the people specified by the senior and avoids lengthy probate court adjudication when there is no will.