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Shepherd’s Center Hosts Volunteer Luncheon

Community organization celebrates volunteer service.

The Oakton-Vienna Shepherd’s Center, organized in 1997, is one of over 50 Shepherd’s Centers throughout North America shaping a new image of aging. On Monday, April 14, the organization held a luncheon at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church to thank volunteers for their service to the community in Vienna and neighboring areas. “We are happy to have the Shepherd’s Center so active in the community of Vienna,” said Vienna Vice Mayor Carey Sienicki.

The Oakton-Vienna Shepherd’s Center’s primary purpose is to provide services to assist older adults to continue to live independently in their own homes and offer programs which supply opportunities for enrichment, learning and socialization. Volunteer opportunities allow individuals to feel needed by reaching out to other older adults. The Oakton-Vienna Shepherd’s Center has approximately 250 volunteers, and 101 persons made reservations to attend the afternoon luncheon.

“It is a great organization,” said Virginia Delegate Mark Keam (D-35). “I have been to many of the Shepherd’s Center fundraisers. They do something important some people do not think about by providing a human touch and contact… This is a wonderful example of community coming together.”

THE SHEPHERD’S CENTER of Oakton-Vienna (SCOV) has 20 sponsoring congregations of different denominations which range from Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church and the Antioch Christian Church to Vienna Seventh-day Adventist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church. Activities and services are made possible through the work of volunteers. The Shepherd's Center staff and the Board of Directors work to plan and coordinate events and services.

“We do this every year, these people make it happen whether it is ride, educational events, or calling people who may be lonely, the volunteers are the crucial part of this enterprise,” said Richard Duesterhaus, chairman of the organization’s board of directors. Michelle Scott, executive director of SCOV, welcomed everyone to the event and welcomed special guests including U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11), Vienna Vice Mayor Sienicki, and Delegate Keam.

Among the many services SOCV offers to the community are twice-monthly meetings to provide information and encouragement to persons caring for a chronically ill or incapacitated person. There are also medical transportation, including rides to medical and therapy appointments and rides for personal errands such as trips to the grocery or pharmacy. “We regularly get feedback from folks who say how pleasant the service is,” said Duesterhaus.

“One of my favorite things about the SCOV is that they try to find the volunteer’s talent,” said Jean Bastien, a SCOV volunteer for approximately 14 years. “Instead of pushing volunteers into a spot, they try to find a good fit for you, and they treat volunteers so well.” In addition to volunteer service, the organization has some programs including local and out-of-town excursions for fellowship, fundraising events, and discussion groups to give educational experiences on a

ON APRIL 8, the Town of Vienna recognized volunteers who have provided services to Vienna. Five SCOV volunteers were recognized including Marge Bradley, Peggy Brumstead, Judy Gallimore, Estelle McNeil, and Jean Reavey. On April 25, at the annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards breakfast, Marcie Lee was recognized by the County for her service to SCOV. “The Shepherd’s Center does such wonderful work,” said Rep. Connolly. “It is a lifeline to so many folks… an extraordinary story in our midst.”

To learn more about the SCOV, visit scov.org.