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Super Senior Spotlight

May 15, 2015

By Maura Rogan, Director of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement

What makes someone a Super Senior? When it comes to the honored volunteers at our May 21 Super Senior Day, I find the common thread is an extraordinary commitment to one’s volunteer role and to his or her organization.

This year marks the 42nd annual Super Senior Day at North Shore Senior Center. During this festive event, volunteers from area organizations (such as libraries, churches and synagogues, clubs, and senior communities) are honored. It is a day to celebrate their work and their passion as honorees receive a corsage or boutonniere and enjoy a lovely lunch and musical performance. The day culminates with a recognition ceremony during which each volunteer stands while a statement is read about his or her service.

For the past 13 years, Super Senior Day has been planned by Vivian Mitchel, the Center’s Program Manager of Travel & Enrichment. I remember when Vivian first told me the story of her mother being recognized as a Super Senior back in 1982. The importance of this recognition to her mother was made very clear when, 18 years later upon her death, Vivian found the Super Senior pin in her mother’s jewelry box.

For 2015, North Shore Senior Center’s honoree is Cheri Nolan. In the past decade, Cheri has volunteered tirelessly for the Center, displaying and selling items at Mim’s Gift Shop (the Center’s shop of donated and handmade treasures.) Merchandise at Mim’s changes weekly and the shop brings in more than $30,000 annually – critical funds that help the Center offer an array of programs and services for seniors and their families. Cheri volunteers at least two days weekly at Mim’s, sometimes coming in extra hours to prepare one of her beautiful table displays. “The June wedding table is my favorite,” she says. “It’s filled with all of our best pieces – silver, crystal, and white linen and china. Everyone oohs and ahhs; I love that.”

With a professional background in display, Cheri has an eye for color and layout and you can see her touch everywhere. She goes the extra mile – literally – to enhance the shop’s offerings and appearance. On more than one occasion, Cheri has been out running errands on foot and has come across a store that is getting rid of display racks or shelves. She has physically carried them home to bring them to the Center. Once, she was on an excursion and brought back, by train, a book case that a store was throwing out!

It’s that level of commitment that Super Senior Day celebrates. And I’ll admit it right now—I have never made it through the event without getting teary. There is something incredibly moving about being amongst these individuals, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, who give of their time and talents so completely. Each has made a choice to devote their time to an organization, and all of them approach their work with a tremendous ethic and sense of responsibility. There’s a joy experienced by these volunteers from their giving—and a pride.