Senior Stitchers is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this May during Older Americans Month. Recognizing the contributions of older Americans, these awards celebrate 50+ volunteers who are making a difference by giving of their time, talent and experience to meet the critical needs of their communities.
Learn more about 50+ Volunteering.
June Roberts is an RSVP volunteer who created and leads a sewing/craft group call the Senior Stitchers. They meet once a week at my Volunteer Action Center. As a result of June’s personal dream, leadership and the hard work necessary to make it come true, the Stitchers are creating textile treasures that have been distributed around the world.
In June’s own words, “There are a lot of people out there who are just lonesome, and they need to do something. Here they can come and sew and give back. It’s our desire to give back to the community. We believe we can still serve others. We still have much to give, and our hearts go out to the children and the elderly in need.”
Besides an abundance of compassion, June’s understanding of the nitty gritty details necessary to keep a volunteer effort together truly sets her apart. As the head dietician at a nursing home, for years, she saw elderly in their most vulnerable state. Later she served as bookkeeper at the local Volunteer Action Center. When the time came to think of retirement, her knowledge of senior volunteers, her love of sewing and her innate need to serve, all coalesced into a plan for a community sewing room.
Sewing machines were procured, space was donated to the project and materials came pouring in. June patiently, but persistently, recruited volunteers until they now number more than 20. Additionally, they have attracted the RSVP Sewers from a local Baptist Church, who specialize in creating blankets and other unique items.
The Senior Stitchers stockpile and distribute items, such as, aprons for Alzheimer’s patients, head gear for cancer patients, heart pillows for the local open heart surgery center, clothing protectors for nursing home patients, walker gear for those with walking disabilities and even provide catheter bag covers.
Word has spread and items have been requested by the Humane Society, the community theater, Head Start, pre-schools and foster family agencies. Some of the Stichers’ handiwork even went to Russia.
Two years ago, June was struck with a brain hemorrhage, leaving her critically ill and hospitalized for many weeks. Throughout her trauma, her group of volunteers continued to serve the community. Jean defied the odds and is again back at work with her sewing group. They continue to reach out to those in need, converting their energies and talents into tangible signs of caring throughout our community.
June has received the West Virginia Governor’s Award and was acknowledged by President Bush when he visited this month. She asks that a Points of Light be given to her Senior Stitchers for their outstanding contributions to seniors and other vulnerable people in our area.