Altruistic residents and staff members of Woodland Pond at New Paltz are constantly looking for ways support organizations with the goal of making a difference in the lives of people who need help. The senior living community has been serving United Way of Ulster County and Family of New Paltz for quite some time and recently developed a special relationship with the Children’s Home of Kingston. Residents and staff members spend time throughout the year volunteering for projects or helping out all these organizations. Volunteer opportunities like these strengthen friendships among residents and staff and provide fulfillment for seniors who desire to live with a purpose.
“Our residents and staff members have so much fun working together to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Michelle Gramoglia, executive director of Woodland Pond at New Paltz. “Earlier this fall, we volunteered for United Way’s Day of Caring and were assigned to help the Children’s Home of Kingston. We enjoyed our day there so much that we decided to set up a Giving Tree in the foyer at Woodland Pond with suggestions for Christmas presents to give to the boys at the Children’s Home. We also adopted a family though the Family of New Paltz annual Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays Program and have suggestions on the tree for those children as well. This year’s family has four children under the age of 11. It is inspiring to see our community passionately commit to such amazing causes.”
In addition to volunteer work, a group of Woodland Pond staff members allocate a portion of their paychecks year-round to United Way to help fuel their mission of helping people in need. That assistance can include help finding a job, learning more about parenting, paying the rent, overcoming substance abuse, looking for a way to leave an abusive relationship, finding childcare or seeking aid for succeeding in school. Staff members are also involved in purchasing gifts for the children Woodland Pond wishes to provide Christmas gifts to this year.
“We had quite a few donations this year,” said Sarah Hull, life enrichment coordinator at Woodland Pond. “It’s both magical and heartwarming to see the presents and donations start piling up under the grand Christmas tree. We hear the residents and staff members eagerly discussing what they plan to get the children and talking about the best places to shop. This is our first year to gather gifts for the boys at the Children’s Home of Kingston. Since helping with the Family of New Paltz program has been so dear to our hearts, we thought it would be wonderful to reach out and help even more children this holiday season.”
The newfound relationship with the Children’s Home of Kingston developed earlier this fall when a team of 27 residents and employees from Woodland Pond at New Paltz participated in United Way’s Day of Caring. The group was assigned to the home and completed a variety of clerical, cleaning and maintenance projects for the organization. The volunteer group did many tasks such as stocking food pantries, sorting books and toys for holiday baskets, gardening, painting, small repair projects and more. In addition to their time spent volunteering, Woodland Pond made a Silver Sponsor donation of $1,000 to assist with United Way’s cause.
“Gwen McCann, executive director for the Children’s Home, sent us a note of heartfelt appreciation for our team’s great work,” said Gramoglia. “It is such a wonderful feeling knowing we are helping people who are in need. We feel like our services, volunteer work and monetary donations are truly making a powerful difference in the surrounding community. We look forward to committing to more projects like these in the coming year and are eager to help The Children’s Home more, in addition to the organizations that we have been assisting for years.”