When we launched with our initial grant, we had enough money for one mailing to share Integrate for Good with area nonprofit organizations, letting them know of our willingness to help them work toward their own missions by capitalizing on the volunteer power of people with disabilities. Jenny, John, Hannah and I created the mailing, stuffed the envelopes and fed them through the postage meter…and then we waited…and waited…of the sixty nonprofit organizations we included, one responded. And are we ever lucky that the one person you reached out to us was Michele Ross from the Montgomery County Senior Adult Activity Center in Norristown! All of that paper and postage was worth it since we got Michele in return!
Michele immediately embraced the Sleeping Mat Project. She welcomed us with open arms and a warmth that is remarkable. On our very first tour of the senior center, we felt like we belonged right away and everyone else we have invited to join us has felt the same way. Integrate for Good is not only about connecting people to volunteer experiences. That is the “what.” More important, is our “why.” The research behind Integrate for Good teaches us that people who are connected to other people are more likely to have better physical and mental health outcomes. They are more likely to have a safe place to live. They are more likely to have meaningful ways to spend their day through paid and unpaid work, and they are happier. We connect people to volunteer experiences for the purpose of building social capital and community connection.
The relationships and true friendships we’ve been able to create at the SAAC are the perfect example of the “why” that drives our work. We invite you to join us on Fridays from 10:30-1:30. Not only will you be able to participate in our Sleeping Mat Project, you can also bring some lunch and join us for incredible entertainment! Through a shared love of music, singing, instrument playing, comedy and comradery, we have redefined Friday Fun Day! It is our honor to present one of our 2019 Community Hero Awards to Michele Ross and the staff and seniors at the Montgomery County Senior Adult Activity Center in Norristown for providing fertile soil for relationships to grow, and for making the one mailing we could afford more than worth it!