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Exercise, we know, is beneficial to your health and endorphins released through physical activity make you feel good.

Volunteering also makes you feel good. But do you know that are health benefits that result from volunteering ? Its true. Studies have shown that people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression which is a plus for your mental health.  And a growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

For these reasons Pickersgill combined two universally feel-good activities – exercise and service to others – into a theme for the annual volunteer luncheon.

Celebrating Service

Every spring, in the middle of National Volunteer Week, Pickersgill spotlights volunteers at a luncheon to give thanks for their service and to recognize the tremendous impact their effort has on our community. The spirit of giving to others is central to the ideals that established Pickersgill Retirement Community over two hundred years ago, the honored volunteers carry that spirit forward and inspire others to serve.

Zumba – Exercise in Disguise!

Luncheon keynote speaker, Deb Shavitz, is well known around Pickersgill, her high energy Zumba workouts are standing-room-only in the 3rd floor meeting room every Tuesday.  Ms. Shavitz, 64, is a retired Director of Sales for Quest Diagnostics. During her recovery from a life-altering car accident she found herself in a position to care for her elderly mother in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  Deb and her mother found common ground through dance.  For Deb the physical activity aided her healing and for her mother the music and movement helped her recall happy memories. Through this journey Deb found her life’s true calling – Zumba for the senior community.

“Everyone at Pickersgill knows when Zumba class is in session,” says Pickersgill Admissions Director Janice Harris. Deb’s encouraging, effervescent voice and tempo-timed clapping combine with the rhythm of classic oldies, big band sounds and the beat of top 40, all of which can be  heard – and felt – through out the building.  “When that infectious energy pumps out of the workout room its a happy hour not only for residents but also for care givers and staff as well,” said says volunteer coordinator Trish Selko. “Zumba class a highlight for everyone at Pickersgill.”

The 17th Annual Volunteer Luncheon

The volunteer luncheon is an event anticipated by residents, board members and community volunteers for weeks in advance. Honorees arrive through the main lobby where they are serenaded by the sweet sounds of the Pickersgill Singers who set the tone for a delightful afternoon. Each guest is given a flower pin wear on their lapel. The pins, beautiful creations by needlepoint artist Mae Strom, are made expressly for the occasion.

At this years event, after guests were seated, Board President, Faye Tulley, gave sincere thanks to the volunteers and quoted British Olympian, Steven Beckley,  “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened – at Pickersgill our volunteers make things happen.”  The Reverend Ernest Smart gave a witty, heartfelt blessing, and everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Richard Blake and the Pickersgill kitchen team. Ms. Tully and Ms. Selko presented door prizes and thanked each volunteer for their service and support.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself and the other for helping others. –Audrey Hepburn