A year later, group going strong to bring communities together

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

It seems like yesterday when three civic-minded women met to make preliminary plans for the organization of what is now Suffolk 60 Care (S60C). In fact, it was September 2004 when Alison Dodson Anderson, Anne-Randolph Harrell and Camille Harrell laid the foundation for S60C.

By May 2005, those three women had become thirteen and Suffolk 60 Care was born. The 60 in Suffolk 60 Care will always define the sixty founding members that began volunteering in 2005 to bridge the communities and boroughs that make up the City of Suffolk. On October 5, sixty charter members, who reside or work in Suffolk, launched the first general membership meeting of Suffolk 60 Care at Cedar Point Country Club. Their goal — to serve the unmet needs of Suffolk residents.

Suffolk 60 Care’s membership of enthusiastic, dedicated and talented women are committed to volunteering their time and services to our community.

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In keeping with this mission, each Suffolk 60 Care General Membership meeting notice requests a specific donation, such as the October request for new or slightly used children’s books for the REACH program.

REACH (Reading Enriches All Children) is a local organization that sponsors volunteers to read to at risk children once a week in area homeless shelters. At the conclusion of each Read Aloud evening, every child in residence selects one book from the REACH library to take as his/her own.

On this particular evening, 258 books were donated to this cause by S60C members.

Suffolk 60 Care has chosen the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless as our 2005-2006 Signature Project.

Joice Whitehorn, a Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless Board of Director Member and Assistant Director of Suffolk Social Services, spoke to the needs of shelter and how excited the shelter is to have Suffolk 60 Care as their partner.

Suffolk 60 Care will be filling many roles at the shelter including assisting with the after school program, conducting adult life skills classes, reading to the children and giving the parents some free time, caring for the property’s exterior, and sponsoring holiday celebrations.

While celebrating holidays may seem minimal, Ms. Whitehorn stressed that our assistance particularly at the holidays will help keep the families’ lives as normal as possible. (Maybe I should ask Joice for a quote here. I think it was more along the lines of how this is one of the greatest times of year that this population needs others to reach out to them and we can be so self consumed during the holidays that traditionally these folks are overlooked.

It can be a depressing time for the homeless when they cannot celebrate the holidays with their family in their own home.We can only imagine what that must be like.)

In the founding year S60C will contribute over 3,000 volunteer hours and over $5,000 to worthy community projects and endeavors. Through the vision and dedication of the charter members, Suffolk 60 Care will become and remain a strong and vibrant force in Suffolk and Hampton Roads, impacting and enhancing our community for many years to come.

S60C’s President, Alison Anderson, sums up the goal of Suffolk 60 Care perfectly. &uot;Volunteering means something different to everyone, but it’s always worth the effort. Today, millions of people are helping to make a difference in their neighborhoods and across the nation by lending their time and compassion. Volunteers connect people to hope and offer a new chance to build a stronger community.&uot;

Here’s to hope and the success of Suffolk 60 Care.