Success Stories

Alice Akers & Marlene RussellNobody Says It Better Than Our Clients

Volunteers, caregivers, grateful relatives and older adults utilizing our services express how Interfaith Older Adult Programs has positively impacted their life or the lives of a loved one.

Take a moment to read these heart-warming stories. To share yours, send us a message.

Interfaith Provides Satisfying Employment to Turn Woman’s Life Around

At age 60, Linda Holliman found herself jobless and homeless. After registering with Interfaith’s Workforce Investment Act program on June 7, 2012 and receiving counseling, Linda was referred to the Mature Workers Resource Center. On June 21 she received a call that Linda says, “changed life as I knew it.” As a result of that call, Linda was given a community service assignment in the Employment Services Program at Interfaith and began her new job on June 25, 2012.

“I feel I was blessed and privileged to be assigned to Interfaith Central with the Employment Services team,” says Linda. “I have found the working/training environment to be the best I’ve ever experienced. My mentors gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to perform my duties and serve our clients well. My supervisor has a wealth of knowledge and is willing to share it with me; she makes coming to my assignment something I look forward to every day. The tasks I am given are diverse and sometimes challenging, and I love a challenge.”

Thanks to her new job, Linda was able to move out of the homeless shelter and into a transitional apartment in August 2012. After five months of saving her money, Linda moved into permanent housing in a subsidized apartment where she’s been happily living ever since. “Thanks to the reaffirmation of participating in Interfaith’s Employment Services program, I know I still have something to contribute to the workforce.”

Master Tutor Helps First Graders Succeed at Reading

Maggie Melvin, a Master Tutor at Fratney Elementary, came to Interfaith with years of teaching experience at the middle school level in central Wisconsin and Milwaukee. After retiring as the school’s librarian, Maggie felt a calling to continue tutoring and teaching kids in the younger grades. “I realized the thing that I most wanted to do was tutor first-graders one-on-one in reading before they felt a sense of ‘I can’t do it,’” shares Maggie.

Maggie joined the Interfaith-MPS Tutor Program to get better connected with other tutors. “Even though we don’t see each other very much, it’s nice to be a part of something a little larger than oneself,” she says. Not only does Maggie have the opportunity to share ideas and enjoy an occasional cup of coffee with other tutors, she also appreciates the resources provided to her through Interfaith.

“Interfaith has been really helpful in terms of the Tutor Resource website with every unit listed every week, giving me a better understanding of what the literacy program is and I how I can support it. Since I wasn’t a first-grade teacher, it’s nice to have access to the district-wide literacy curriculum so I can grasp what is happening in the classroom and be a more effective tutor.”

Resources Help Caregiver Effectively Care for Parent

Tom N. works as a third-shift engineer at a local television station while also caring for his mother whom he lives with. Bedridden and suffering from dementia, Tom is not able to leave her alone. Like many other working caregivers, Tom struggled with how to care for his mom and still attend out-of-town work meetings and training. Through the help of Interfaith’s Family Caregiver Support Network (FCSN), Tom has expanded his support system, and learned all he could about his mother’s illnesses and the type of care that would be most beneficial for her. He’s borrowed many of Interfaith FCSN’s videos and books and has accepted all kinds of resource materials, as well as a referral to the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, Tom utilized respite care in order to take his first vacation in a number of years. He developed a planned agenda for caregivers, ensuring continuity in his mother’s care, as well as activities that provide stimulation, adding to her quality of  life.

“The help I’ve received from Interfaith has enabled me to effectively care for my mother at home while still maintaining my career,” says Tom. “I learned I can have a life aside from my role as caregiver by utilizing respite services and other Interfaith resources.”

Special Bond Develops Between Volunteer and Aunt

For many years, Ann, a faithful Interfaith volunteer, took Michael’s* aunt, Nona*, grocery shopping and to the bank to deposit her pension checks. “During this time, Ann established a relationship with my aunt and met needs that I was not able to,” says Michael. On a trip to Wisconsin, Michael and his wife had the opportunity to meet Ann. “While the three of us visited my aunt in a skilled nursing facility, I immediately noticed a special bond between Ann and Nona.” It was a bond that lasted until Nona’s passing at age 89. “Although my aunt had a difficult life, Ann brought a sense of joy to it,” Michael gratefully states. “Ann represented the vision of Interfaith Older Adult Programs in a life-changing way for my aunt that I will not soon forget.”

*client names changed to protect privacy

Senior Center Helps Elderly Woman Find Enjoyment Again in Life

It’s every adult son’s or daughter’s worst nightmare. Lydia* came home from work to find that her 83-year-old mother, Clara,* had taken a fall and had been lying alone, helpless and scared, for eight long hours. After a three-week hospital stay, a feeling of hopelessness descended on Clara. Fortunately, Lydia made a smart choice – she turned to Interfaith. Clara arrived at the Senior Center in a wheelchair…and depressed. But before too long, she began to perk up, using the dining services two or three times a week, interacting with friends, and participating in exercise activities. Soon Clara was engaged and active once again. Lydia believes the Senior Center is what helped give her mother some of her life back.

*client names changed to protect privacy

Recreation and Wellness Activities Keep Older Adult Busy

Gina*, 54, a Milwaukee County resident, has been an active participant at Interfaith’s Washington Park Senior Center for more than a year. After retiring from Milwaukee Public Schools, Gina wanted to keep busy, so she joined the nearby Senior Center. “I enjoy the different opportunities they have to offer. One of my favorite activities is the free fitness center, which has enabled me to build up my physical strength and feel better about myself after being in a wheelchair for 10 years. I also enjoy karaoke and movie days, and my two newest classes, sewing and T-shirt making.”

*client name changed to protect privacy

Wilson Park Senior Center Helps Widow Find Happiness

After losing her husband of 53 years, Janet* decided to check out the Wilson Senior Center at the encouragement of a friend. Once she saw all they had to offer, she immediately signed up for a quilting class. “It was the BEST thing I could have done,” recalls Janet. “It gave me a reason to get up in the morning and get dressed and back into the world.” Janet says there is always someone to listen if you want to talk, or give you a hug if you need one, or just sit with you. “And the activities are unbelievable! There is something for everyone, whether it’s woodworking, pool, exercise, library, stained glass, knitting, trains, card playing and so much more. The lunch program is great, too, for people who don’t want to cook – you can get a balanced meal for a great price.”

Janet also volunteers in the gift shop one day a week and truly enjoys it since she formerly worked in retail. She’s also helping out with a quilting class and open sew which she says has, “brought so many new and wonderful people into my life. I enjoy keeping busy and helping others, and I am so thankful that I came here!”

*client name changed to protect privacy

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