VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth presents VVCC Board Member Chuck Marr with an award for leading the “900 New Neighbors in 2015” major gifts campaign.

(left to right) Chuck Burkitt, George Ault, Bill Macuri, Hubert Claunts, and Kent Ellsworth  

Volunteer John Wozniak

With the help of VVCC, Wilma enjoys a day on the town but spends most of her day with Roxanne, a Chihuahua mix.

VVCC named

Best Volunteer Transportation Program

in U.S.


Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition was selected as the winner of the National Volunteer Transportation Center’s 2016 Grand Star Award. The award, sponsored by Toyota, includes the grand prize of a Toyota Sienna Mobility Vehicle. 

The NVTC STAR Awards recognize outstanding volunteer transportation programs and the involvement of their volunteer drivers in promoting and providing transportation services to passengers, especially older adult passengers. VVCC competed with 147 other volunteer driver programs around the nation.
 

“This award demonstrates how vital and outstanding our team of volunteers are to the community—people who have come forward to help all those in need,” VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth said. 

Each applicant for the 2016 STAR Award was asked to submit a story written by a passenger/client who received transportation from its service. Client (neighbor) Sonny Roa told how VVCC volunteers take him from Camp Verde to Cottonwood for dialysis three times a week. “Many times I was confined to a wheel chair or could hardly walk ten steps without help and you made sure that I had proper transportation to my doctors’ appointments and to the dialysis center,” Roa said.
 

The NVTC is an initiative of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). Its purpose is to provide assistance and support to volunteer transportation programs across America. In 2014, VVCC received a STAR Merit Award from NVTC, placing in the Top 10.  

“This award comes at a special time for us,” said Ellsworth. “Twenty-five years ago the organization decided to serve older adults throughout the Verde Valley. The first year of operations we served 80 seniors with 50 volunteers. Today, we serve over 2,000 older adults with about 370 volunteers—who make all of this possible.” 

VVCC volunteers provide transportation to medical, physical therapy, grocery shopping and other appointments, as well as home visits, handy person help, business and pet assistance. These assistive services improve the quality of life for older adults who wish to live in their homes for as long as possible.

(left to right) Kent Ellsworth, ,Loretta Engelhart, ,Dave Draves, , ,Ed Lajala, Mary Lajala, Claudia Ault, and George Ault 

Becca Tokarczyk volunteers at the One-Call center for Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition

Volunteer Loretta Engelhardt pictured above. 

Sonny Roa and Volunteer Torrey Barcanic.

(left to right) George Ault, Chuck Lougheed, Dave Draves, Kent Ellsworth, and Dee Markle.

From left to right: Robert “Red” Whootan, director of Gaming at Cliff Castle Casino; Timothy Hawk, finance director; George Ault, VVCC Board president; and Rojelio Rubio, marketing director.

Wanda smiles while wearing her Guardian Angel pendant around her neck.

Merrie sits with Murphy, her Maine Coon therapy cat.

Cindy Walker is given a 10 year volunteer service pin and Sandy Harotunian is given a 5-year service pin presented by George Ault.

Michelle Stadelman and Graham Robertson (right) presented VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth with a $2,500 check to help older adults in need.

Everette and handmade medals for the volunteers

Copyright      2014 Verde Valley  Caregivers Coalition. All rights reserved.

©

VVCC volunteers, Joe (left) and Sonya (right) Landholm: "We believe our own gift to VVCC will contribute to bringing about happiness and independence for older adults in our community."

News Releases

​​​​​​May 17, 2017 — VVCC named best volunteer transportation program in U.S.


Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition was selected as the winner of the National Volunteer Transportation Center’s 2016 Grand Star Award. The award, sponsored by Toyota, includes the grand prize of a Toyota Sienna Mobility Vehicle.

The NVTC STAR Awards recognize outstanding volunteer transportation programs and the involvement of their volunteer drivers in promoting and providing transportation services to passengers, especially older adult passengers. VVCC competed with 147 other volunteer driver programs around the nation.

“This award demonstrates how vital and outstanding our team of volunteers are to the community—people who have come forward to help all those in need,” VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth said.


Each applicant for the 2016 STAR Award was asked to submit a story written by a passenger/client who received transportation from its service. Client (neighbor) Sonny Roa told how VVCC volunteers take him from Camp Verde to Cottonwood for dialysis three times a week. “Many times I was confined to a wheel chair or could hardly walk ten steps without help and you made sure that I had proper transportation to my doctors’ appointments and to the dialysis center,” Roa said.

The NVTC is an initiative of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). Its purpose is to provide assistance and support to volunteer transportation programs across America. In 2014, VVCC received a STAR Merit Award from NVTC, placing in the Top 10. 

“This award comes at a special time for us,” said Ellsworth. “Twenty-five years ago the organization decided to serve older adults throughout the Verde Valley. The first year of operations we served 80 seniors with 50 volunteers. Today, we serve over 2,000 older adults with about 370 volunteers—who make all of this possible.”

VVCC volunteers provide transportation to medical, physical therapy, grocery shopping and other appointments, as well as home visits, handy person help, business and pet assistance. These assistive services improve the quality of life for older adults who wish to live in their homes for as long as possible.




April 26, 2017— VVCC honors volunteers for outstanding services


​In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month, Verde Valley Caregivers held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, April 20, at Sedona Rouge Resort and Spa. About 80 guests and volunteers attended.  

 "The Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon is one of the best days of the year for VVCC," said Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. "It's great to see our volunteers together in one place to celebrate the difference they make for the neighbors we serve.”

Guests received a big surprise upon arrival at the luncheon. VVCC volunteer Lisa Simpson and two of her children, Everette and Linnea, presented hand-made paper medals to thank volunteers for their service. The medals were all inscribed “Volunteers are Super Heroes.”

VVCC Board President George Ault welcomed volunteers and thanked them, on behalf of the board, for their great work in helping older adults stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

Ault also introduced special guest Darla DeVille, Community Affairs manager, Northwest Division of Arizona Public Service, a luncheon sponsor, who said APS has committed for a second year to help support VVCC’s Guardian Angel medical alert program.  

Guest speaker Anne Snowden Crosman talked about her book “Young at Heart – 61 extraordinary Americans tell how to defy age with zest, work and healthy lifestyles.” Crosman said happiness was the common theme. She and the audience identified eight ways to keep us happy: laughing, loving, spirituality, friends and socializing, stretching your mind and body, eating healthy, and being helpful and productive.   

Crosman was the first woman hired by CBS Radio Network in 1973 to do regular hourly news broadcast from New York City. She then reported for NBC and Mutual Radio Networks, in the US and Europe. In Arizona, She was afternoon host for "All Things Considered" on KNAU, Arizona Public Radio in Flagstaff, AZ. Anne currently lives in Sedona where she writes non-fiction books, edits manuscripts, teaches writing, and researches Arizona issues, including the environment, the legislature, and the judiciary. She also teaches for Yavapai College's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Ellsworth and staff thanked volunteers for providing record services to 2,400 older adults in 2016. Addressing volunteers, Ellsworth said, “We are doing amazing work for the seniors we serve and it’s all due to your efforts. Thank you so much for the help you provide.”

About 374 volunteers delivered a combined 81,210 hours of service. They also provided 31,121 individual services, ranging from friendly phone calls, assistance with grocery shopping, and help with minor household repairs. Most notably last year, volunteers provided 22,560 trips for older adults.

Special recognition was given to volunteers who drove the most miles and served the most hours. Hubert Ballesteros received honors for driving over 24,000 miles and for providing 2,647 hours of service. Bill Macuri also received honors for driving 22,400 miles and providing 2,552 hours of service. Fran and Jim Stowell received honors for providing 19,000 miles and 1,861 hours of service.

VVCC also honored volunteers for five, ten, and fifteen years of service. The following volunteers were awarded five-year pins: Leonard Filner, Steve Schliebs, and Lee Thomas. Ten-year pins were awarded to: Sai Chang, Ed Lewis, Gloria Lewis, Sherry Young, Mike Splendore, Barb Splendore, Jan Anderson, Patrick Murphy, Joe Scully, Marianne Scully Ellen Simon, Cindy Walker, Brian Makoff, and Rita Harding. Volunteers with fifteen and more years of service are: Lorraine Plaunt, Jan Tanis, Mary Lajala, Ed Lajala, Dave Draves, Isabell Blanton, Aida Popp, Ruth Kiessel, Liz Sweeney, and Loretta Engelhardt.


This year, VVCC celebrates 25 years of helping older adults in need. Volunteers Dave Draves, Chuck Lougheed, and Dee Markle were recognized as founding volunteers, serving over 20 years.

VVCC thanks following businesses for donating gift certificates and prizes given to volunteers during the event: Cowboys & Angels, Desert Flour Bakery & Bistro, Dominos Pizza, Famous Pizza, Gifts Galore, Jay’s Bird Barn, Java Love, Jazz Bouquet & Tea Room, Judi’s Restaurant, Kachina House, Kealyn’s Kloset, Massage Matters, Namti Massage, Nancy’s Hair, Nick’s Westside, Olde Sedona Bar & Grill, Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen, Randall’s Restaurant, Sedona International Film Festival, Snap Fitness, Steak & Stuff Restaurant, and Szechuan Restaurant.

With 500 more seniors expected to need our help by the end of the year, VVCC will need additional volunteers. Operations & Mobility Manager Kim Meller said “Volunteering with us is very flexible. You decide when and how often you can help.” For more information call (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org. You may also visit our website at: www.vvcaregivers.org for a full list of volunteer opportunities. 


March 13, 2017—Making a Difference One Smile at a Time ​ 


For John Wozniak, it's a normal day. He is on his way to pick up Miriam, a Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition neighbor, to take her to her doctor’s appointment. He knocks on the door and hears a faint, "Come in." John walks in and finds Miriam face down on the floor –she had just fallen. These experiences can be scary for adults in need, but volunteers like John make staying in their own homes possible.

John is the type of person who can brighten up a room with just his presence. His smile is contagious and his jokes will make your entire day. John is a driver for VVCC and it's not hard to see why he is requested by so many neighbors. John had to watch his mother struggle through daily activities when she got older. She relied on family for the same services VVCC offers. After learning about VVCC, John knew he could help make a difference for others.


VVCC's services help older adults in need continue to live independently, with transportation as the biggest service. Neighbor Miriam explains, "If it weren't for the services of the caregivers, many neighbors would never leave their home. It can get lonely at times and VVCC makes it possible for us to socialize."

 John takes neighbors to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and even to church for social events. Many would say John is much more than a driver. John offers a warm smile and a helping hand. After he found Miriam on the floor, he helped fix the grating that had tripped her up.


VVCC will celebrate its 25th Anniversary throughout 2017. “It’s volunteers like John that enable us to fulfill our mission,” said VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. “Our neighbors know they can count on us to be there to help.”

VVCC provides volunteers, programs, and services to support adults in need of assistance in maintaining their independence and quality of life at home. Many of the seniors VVCC helps are living alone without family or friends to help assist them with activities crucial to their independence. VVCC's services are provided at no cost by dedicated volunteers throughout the Verde Valley. About 375 volunteers provide assistive services that include: transportation to medical and other appointments, rides to the grocery store, shopping, and other errands, business assistance such as bill paying and sorting, and handy person help. For more information about volunteering please go to www.vvcaregivers.org.



February 14, 2017—VVCC Volunteer Gives and Receives 


Verde Valley Caregivers volunteer Loretta Engelhardt interviews older adults in need of VVCC services. While enhancing the lives of others, she’s able to enrich her own.

Engelhardt, who comes from a medical background, heard about VVCC’s mission from another volunteer, and knew she could put her skills to good use.She describes herself as being a great listener and having a compassionate attitude. Both of which are very important when it ​comes to interviewing seniors who need assistance to stay living independently in their homes. She is the first person potential “neighbors” meet face-face.

Engelhardt explains no matter the situation or the story, "There is always hope and laughter in the interviews. These adults are brave to be able to reach out for the help they need." She says the key to getting the perfect interview is listening. VVCC home interviewers assess eligibility, home safety, health needs, and give advice on all the resources available for help including direct VVCC services such as transportation to medical and therapy appointments, the grocery store, providing Guardian Angel medical alert units, handy person help, business assistance, and more.             

In addition to benefiting the lives of our neighbors, volunteers receive something in return. "Being a volunteer gives you an opportunity to enrich your own life," Englehardt explains. "Our neighbors offer a wealth of creativity and knowledge that lets you learn about history, professions, and people." And VVCC makes volunteering easy. Englehardt works a full time job in real estate and is still able to help by conducting four, 30-minute interviews a month. 


"We are very thankful for Loretta Engelhardt and all our volunteers for the work they do to better the lives of our adults in need," said VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. “Because of their service, we’re able to assist over 2,400 seniors when they need our help.”


VVCC is celebrating 25 years serving older adults in need. There are many ways you can make a difference in a neighbor’s life. Volunteer opportunities range from transporting neighbors to the grocery store and medical appointments, friendly visiting, interviewing new neighbors, and more. You decide when and how often. To volunteer contact Operations & Mobility Manager Kim Meller at (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org. Visit VVCC's website at www.vvcaregivers.org to see a full list of volunteer opportunities and how you can support neighbors in need.



VVCC's Guardian Angel Program puts families at ease
Written by: Michelle Naifeh


July 29, 2016—Sedona, AZ-- Reassurance is one of the many things Verde Valley Caregivers services provide.  Through VVCC's Guardian Angel Program, older adults are loaned medical alert units with the ability to call for help with just the click of a button. Wanda, 87, who lives in Cottonwood, is a new VVCC neighbor who has problems with dizzy spells that have attributed to her falling. Her daughter says, “I feel better knowing my mother can press that button and call me if she needs help.”

With a land phone line, VVCC volunteers can connect medical alert units within minutes. As Wanda, her children, and great grand children heard the dial tone set, everyone sighed a bit of relief. “Verde Valley Caregivers and the medical alert unit are very helpful for me and my family. Everybody feels safe,” Wanda said.

 VVCC volunteers who are trained as Guardian Angel technicians install the units. With the pendant around Wanda’s neck, she teased her children through a test run call. “Help me, I can’t get up!” Wanda’s family smiles and says, “We are on our way.” If Wanda's family members do not answer, emergency dispatch will be called.

The Guardian Angel Program is available for VVCC neighbors who live alone and are at-risk for falling down due to age limitations or have a temporary or permanent disability and/or medical condition. As a new neighbor, Wanda said she appreciates this life-saving program and looks forward to other assistive services VVCC provides.

VVCC is in its 24th year providing services to 2,400 older adults. Volunteers transport neighbors to medical and other appointments, install and maintain Guardian Angel medical alert units, provide home safety checks, provide handy person help, shop for neighbors, provide business help, patient scribe, and pet assistance. Volunteers are especially needed for friendly visiting, respite assistance, pet walking and in our Silver Linings Thrift Shop, located in Uptown Sedona.

VVCC is currently looking for volunteers to help neighbors like Wanda. When you volunteer you decide when and for how long. “I am so grateful for your volunteers,” Wanda says with a smile. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer contact Operations and Mobility Manager Kim Meller at (928) 204-1238 or email kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org.



VVCC's Pets Count Too! helps Neighbor's Cat
Written by: Michelle Naifeh

Merrie sits in pink as her ten year old Main Coon- Munchkin pounces onto her lap and begins purring happily. Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition has helped Merrie since 2012 providing friendly visits, driving her to the bank, store, bringing pantry, and providing pet services. Merrie points to her lap and says "this is Murphy and that is Ozzy Cat." Merrie deals with chronic pain, diabetes, depression and anxiety. Murphy and Ozzy Cat act as therapy cats.

"VVCC provides a lot of services that help me which include helping me with my Murphy." Murphy was recently diagnosed with arthritis. "I knew something was wrong with his hips and at first I thought his microchip had moved. When Kim Meller (Operations & Mobility Manager) stopped by to bring me fruits and vegetables, I told her something was wrong with Murphy and she told me VVCC could help." VVCC took Murphy to the veterinarian and paid for expenses.

VVCC has made Merrie's daily life livable, pleasant and fuller. "I deal with chronic pain which immobilizes me. When I am up against a wall I know I can call VVCC and they will point me in the right direction."

Merrie reminds us when you help someone, it makes a tremendous difference in their daily life and that volunteer work is not a full time job. 

"You don't need to volunteer every day. You can fill in spots here and there for a couple hours." Merrie recalled that VVCC has provided many nice caregivers and volunteers who have helped her accomplish the tasks she needs to do on a daily basis. "Without VVCC I would have gone without a lot." When you volunteer for VVCC you pick the time and place to help neighbors in need.



May 4, 2016- VVCC Client Enjoys Company
Written by: Michelle Naifeh

May 4, 2016—Sedona—"They're great," said Wilma, 77, about the volunteers and numerous programs Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition offers. Wilma became a VVCC neighbor about eight years ago when she became ill and needed help.

 "I found VVCC through Christian Care. I saw a pamphlet and called." Wilma now counts on VVCC volunteers to take her to doctors appointments, mail packages, make friendly phone calls, and on occasion, find herself out and around town.    

"My birthday is December 26, and on that day last year volunteer Becca Tokarczyk picked me up and took me out."Wilma said they went shopping and had breakfast and dinner. Tokarczyk provided company on a day that Wilma would have otherwise spent indoors and alone.                   

Wilma recently requested a ride to a medical appointment and to her enjoyment Tokarczyk was the one who picked her up. "Becca is fun. When she took me to the doctor's we had more fun then a barrel of monkeys. After the doctors we went to get burgers and a frosty," Wilma added.

 Wilma does have her little Chihuahua mix that provides her the most company.  "I'm a lonely old woman and I don't have the ability to get out. My son can only visit once a week and I am grateful for that."

VCC fills about 700 service requests each month for older adults who need to go grocery shopping and get to their medical and other important appointments. Most of them are homebound, live alone, and welcome opportunities for visits and phone calls. 


If you would like to volunteer to help older adults like Wilma, please contact Operations & Mobility Manager Kim Meller at (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org. You may also visit our website at: www.vvcaregivers.org for a full list of volunteer opportunities and to like us on Face book.

Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition is in its 24th year providing services to 2,400 older adults. Volunteers transport neighbors to medical and other appointments, install and maintain Guardian Angel medical alert units, provide home safety checks, provide handy person help, shop for neighbors, provide business help, patient scribe, and pet assistance. Volunteers are especially needed for friendly visiting, respite assistance, and pet walking.

Wilma adds: “You can help VVCC by coming over once a week to keep me company and keep me connected to my community."





April 20, 2016- VVCC honors volunteers for record number of services

Sedona, AZ—In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month, Verde Valley Caregivers held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, April 14, at Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona. Nearly 80 guests and volunteers attended.  

"The Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon is one of the best days of the year for VVCC," said Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. "It's great to see our volunteers together in one place to celebrate the difference they make for the neighbors we serve.

VVCC Board President George Ault welcomed volunteers and thanked them, on behalf of the board, for their great work in helping older adults stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

Ault also introduced special guest Darla DeVille, Community Affairs manager, Northwest Division of Arizona Public Service, who said APS has committed to supporting VVCC’s Guardian Angel medical alert program and transportation.

Guest speaker Terrie Frankel, an early Doublemint Twin, and now a Veterans advocate, shared her story about performing in the jungles of Vietnam with her twin sister Jennie. Frankel later became a producer, screenwriter and New York Times best selling author. Her efforts on behalf of servicemen and women and veterans continue through her work as a filmmaker, public speaker and Lifetime Associate member of the Marine Corps League, Sedona Detachment #1237.

Because of the support of the Sedona Detachment #1237, Frankel was able to accompany her brother-in-law and VVCC neighbor Warren Imus, a Korean and World War II veteran, to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. via the Honor Flight program.

Frankel thanked volunteers for the assistance they give to her brother-in-law and announced she is naming Verde Valley Caregivers in her will. “I know they will make the most of every dollar to enlighten the lives of hundreds of seniors they touch every day, year after year.”

Ellsworth and staff thanked volunteers for providing record services to 2,400 older adults in 2015. About 350 volunteers delivered a combined 72,600 hours of service. They also provided 31,121 individual services, ranging from friendly phone calls, assistance with grocery shopping, and help with minor household repairs. Most notably last year, volunteers provided 21,550 trips for older adults.

Special recognition was given to volunteers who drove the most miles and served the most hours. Hubert Ballesteros received honors for driving over 25,000 miles and for providing 2,000 hours of service. Bill Macuri also received honors for driving 23,000 miles and providing 2,600 hours of service. Fran and Jim Stowell received honors for providing 17,000 miles and 1,700 hours of service. Torrey Barcanic, Elaine Boyer, Irma McNeff, Thomas Brand and Kathleen Zawadzki were recognized for providing over 3,000 miles transporting neighbors. Ed Huber and Frank Cruz were recognized for driving over 2,000 miles.

 VVCC recognized volunteers who completed over 500 hours of volunteer service including Elaine Boyer, Lee Weller, Irma McNeff, Kathleen Zawadzki, Thomas Brand and Noreen Zaccaria. Ed Huber, Gail Guntermann, Gary Barto, Holly Horath, and Judy Fisher were also recognized as volunteers who completed over 300 hours of service.

VVCC also honored volunteers for five and ten years of service. The following volunteers were awarded five-year pins: Gary Barto, Ed Huber and Sandy Harotunian. Cindy Walker was presented with a ten-year pin.

VVCC thanks following businesses for donating gift certificates and prizes given to volunteers during the event: Avon Representative Christine Carlyon, C.C. Creations, Charming Charlie, Cowboys & Angels, Curves, Desert Flour Bakery & Bistro, Dominos Pizza, Famous Pizza, Gifts Galore, Isn’t She Lovely Boutique, Jay’s Bird Barn, Java Love, Jazz Bouquet & Tea Room, Judi’s Restaurant, Massage Matters, Namti Massage, Nancy’s Hair, Nick’s Westside, Olde Sedona Inn, OLLI Membership, Paula Thompson LPGA golf instructor at Randall’s Rest. In Cottonwood, Sedona Golf Resort, Sedona Athletic Club at Hilton Sedona, Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona Lavender, Steak & Stuff Restaurant, Szechuan Restaurant, Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, and Zumba Class sponsored by Christine Trcic.


With 600 older adults expected to become neighbors in the next year, VVCC will need additional volunteers. Operations & Mobility Manager Kim Meller said “volunteering with us is very flexible. You decide when and how often you can help.” For more information call (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org.


You may also visit our website at: www.vvcaregivers.org for a full list of volunteer opportunities.




February 13, 2016- Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition Receives Check from Cliff Castle Casino and Hotel


Camp Verde, AZ, February 2016  - Cliff Castle Casino donated $12,000 to three nonprofit organizations located in the Verde Valley Area. Verde Valley Caregivers received a $4,000 donation. "We thank Cliff Castle Casino for honoring us with this gift. Their support will benefit older adults who live alone and need our help," VVCC Board President George Ault said.




February 4,2016- Verde Valley Caregivers is in need of volunteers to visit older adults and also to provide respite services for in-home caregivers.

Becca Tokarczyk has been a VVCC volunteer for the past eight months. “The services Verde Valley Caregivers provided me when I needed help was so wonderful that I wanted to pay it forward and pay it back. Tokarczyk volunteers by calling neighbors, scheduling visits, answering questions about the services VVCC provides and participates in special request volunteer work,

“Last year I helped deliver over twenty-seven Christmas gifts to older adults that were in need of pajamas, slippers, and blankets. Most of the adults I visited live alone, so every home I went to, I was greeted with kindness and sincerity. You could hear the gratitude in their voice- I didn’t recognize the reward of volunteering for VVCC would be so great!”

VVCC is in its 24th year of service to nearly 2,400 older adults throughout the Verde Valley who need assistance to live independently in their homes. Volunteers transport neighbors to medical and other appointments, install and maintain Guardian Angel medical alert units, provide home safety checks, provide handy person help, shop for neighbors, provide business help, patient scribe, and pet assistance.

“Seniors who live in their homes for as long as possible enjoy a better quality of life; they have their belongings, and in many cases, are closer to family, friends, and neighbors,” said VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. “The assistive services our volunteers provide enrich the day-to-day lives of our neighbors as well as the lives of the volunteers themselves.”

For more information and to volunteer, please contact Operations & Mobility Manager Kim Meller at (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org or visit our website www.vvcaregivers.org for a full list of volunteer opportunities. You decide when and how often you can volunteer. Tokarczyk reminds us “If everyone could volunteer three hours a month we would have an abundance of volunteers and wouldn’t have to worry about older adults being alone in their homes.”




December 23, 2015-  Verde Valley Caregivers receives gift from Graham’s Integrity Auto Sales

Verde Valley Caregivers wishes to thank Graham’s Integrity Auto Sales and owners Graham and Kristin Robertson and Rudy and Michelle Stadelman for their $2,500 gift to help support services for older adults in need.  

When Michelle Stadelman heard about the work Verde Valley Caregivers provides, she said she wanted to do something to help.

 “Many people do not realize how many elderly people live alone in our community—many of them can’t drive and don’t have family or resources to help shop for groceries, obtain medical care/medications, do banking, or even being able to socialize with another person.”

Executive Director Kent Ellsworth said Graham’s Integrity Auto Sales gift “will make a big difference for the seniors we serve. I thank the company for its desire to help meet the needs of our growing elder population.”   

In addition to their company gift, Stadelman and salesperson Neili Wilcox delivered gifts, donated by individuals through VVCC’s Gift Giving Program, to residents at Verde Manor in Cottonwood. 

“They were very excited to have visitors and especially excited about getting their gifts,” Stadelman said. “It was a very rewarding experience for us and so gratifying to be Santa’s elves for the day!”

Stadelman thanks VVCC, its volunteers, and the individuals who purchased the holiday gifts. “We made some very nice people extremely happy that day. Everyone loves to get a gift at Christmas and it is even more joyful to be the giver—thanks for the opportunity!”
        
VVCC is in its 23rd year of service with nearly 2,700 older adults enrolled to receive assistance. Volunteers transport neighbors to medical and other appointments, install and maintain Guardian Angel medical alert units, provide home safety checks, provide handy person help, shop for neighbors, provide business help, patient scribe, and pet assistance.

For more information on becoming a volunteer contact Operations Manager Kim Meller at (928) 204-1238 or email: kimmeller@vvcaregivers.org. You can also visit our website at www.vvcaregivers.org.

Gifts to Verde Valley Caregivers also qualify for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. To make a donation please go to: http://www.vvcaregivers.org/make-a-donation.html. Tax credit donations must be received by Dec. 31, 2015.




November 5, 2015- VVCC’s Masquerade Gala Big Success for Older Adults in Need


The Masquerade-themed Fundraiser held by Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition on Oct. 22, in the Hilton Sedona Canyon Ballroom, raised nearly $70,000 in event gifts and pledges. Proceeds of the event will help older adults get to medical appointments, go grocery shopping, and receive other assistive services such as handy person help, business help, home safety checks, and more.

About 160 guests and supporters attended the gala which featured a wine-tasting reception, appetizers sponsored by Vintages Grille and music by Brian Lockard and Classical singers from Northern Arizona University’s School of Music, performing opera and pieces from the stage musical Phantom of the Opera.

"I want to thank all the donors, volunteers and guests who attended our celebration,” said VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth. “Their support and contributions make is possible for us to continue the absolutely vital services that VVCC provides.”


Charles Marr, member of VVCC’s board of directors, received an award for his leadership in launching the “900 New Neighbors in 2015” major gifts campaign. The event’s raffle, a cruise for two, was won by Dr. David and Jennette Bill of Sedona. 


VVCC thanks the following sponsors: Esser, Bradley & Gardner LLC, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Paul and DeAnna Lehnen, the Arizona Lottery, Sterling Financial Services, National Processing Solutions, and the following wineries: Alcantara Vineyards, Javelina Leap Winery, Pillsbury Wine Company. Special thanks to Talk of the Town Events for their elaborate decorations and to our Master of Ceremonies Shondra Jepperson.

The event also included live and silent auctions featuring artwork from renowned local artists and other sponsors including: Susan Kliewer, John Soderberg, Michael Trcic, E. C. Wynn, Betty Carr, Howard Carr, SchoolHouse Restaurant, Sherab Khandro, David Simmer, Christine Trcic, Jan Sitts, and Charles Marr. Special thanks to all the artists and businesses that donated to our auctions. Please visit our event page for this year’s Masquerade photos which will be online soon at:   http://www.vvcaregivers.org/art-wine-dine-1.html



July 6, 2015- VVCC’s special needs transportation gets senior connected to her new community

by Amanda Skonhovd


 Finding new hobbies, making friends and even adjusting to the weather are all part of moving to a new place. For older adults, adjusting to these changes can be particularly challenging, especially when they are unable to drive.

Jeannine, a Verde Valley Caregivers neighbor, recently made the move from Florida to Cornville to be with her daughter. At 90 years old, she cannot drive and is often alone for many hours by herself. “It gets very lonely,” Jeannine says. “When my daughter and neighbors go to work, I don’t see anyone.”  Often alone and without the ability to drive, she was desperate to find a way to connect with her new community.

Luckily, Jeannine’s daughter, Barbara, contacted VVCC to inquire about services for her mother. “I needed to help her find a place to socialize and make new friends,” Barbara says, “but even if I found somewhere for her to go, she needed a way to get there.” The answer to Jeannine’s mobility challenge is the result of a recent contracted partnership between VVCC and Cottonwood Area Transit (CAT), which ensures convenient door-to-door pickup for older adults.

“This demand-response special needs transportation provides another option to help our neighbors get where they need to go,” explains VVCC Operations and Mobility Manager, Kim Meller. “Our contractual partnership with a public transportation provider is unprecedented and demonstrates the commitment our communities have to help older adults in need.” 

Jeannine started using VVCC’s specialized transportation services two months ago. She is picked up every Friday at her home in Cornville, and is taken to Verde Valley Senior Center in Cottonwood. The bus arrives right at her doorstep, ensuring that she does not have to walk to a bus station and wait alone. When she is ready to leave the senior center, the bus picks her up and returns her to her home.

Since using VVCC services, Jeannine feels more connected to her community. “I didn’t know anybody when I moved here,” she says. “(Now) I am able to go to the Verde Valley Senior Center and meet new people. Everyone at the senior center is just so friendly.” In just a few short months, Jeannine has made several new friends. She attends knitting circles, eats lunch and enjoys the entertainment offered by the Verde Valley Senior Center. She even brings in fresh fruit from her daughter’s trees to share with her fellow seniors.

For Jeannine and Barbara, VVCC’s transportation services have exceeded expectation. Not only is Jeannine settling in and making new friends, but her daughter is relieved that her mother is able to stay active in the community. “This service has given my mother the opportunity to maintain her independence at home, but still go out and meet new people. She has never been happier.”         



June 22, 2015- VVCC launches "900 New Neighbors" campaign  


The Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition has launched the “900 New Neighbors in 2015” major gifts campaign to prepare for the 900 additional older adults who will need services by the end of the year.

VVCC Executive Director Kent Ellsworth said his projections are based on the steady increase in needs each year. Last year VVCC enrolled 650 new neighbors and this year expects to enroll 900.

“The vast majority of the older adults we serve are at an advanced age of 85 and older. Nearly 50 percent of the neighbors we serve are 90 to 99 years of age, and 20 of our clients are 100 plus,” Ellsworth said. “They all wish to stay living independently in their homes and community of choice for as long as possible.”

VVCC launched its major gifts campaign the beginning of the year and has raised $120,000 in gifts and pledges. VVCC’s Board of Directors led the way by supporting the campaign’s Lead Gift of $50,000 from Charles Marr, vice president, and from Eric Meyers, board treasurer, and his wife Bernadette.  The campaign’s goal is to raise $200,000 in gifts and pledges by Dec. 31.

Ellsworth said the purpose of the campaign is “to ensure services are available immediately to the elderly at the time when they need us most.”  He said services that are essential to older adults living independently in their homes include transportation to medical and other appointments, making their homes safer, assisting their pets, and much more. “And we need to do this for 2,400 elderly,” Ellsworth adds.

The campaign’s chair, Judith Keane, a former Sedona city council member and vice mayor, says supporting VVCC’s mission is critical to the quality of life of the senior members of our community. “There is no better way to help our folks who are ill, fragile, and alone than to support with your dollars and time Verde Valley Caregivers--a true life line in the Verde Valley,” she said.

VVCC volunteers have also contributed to the campaign. Dr. Joe and Sonya Landholm, volunteers with VVCC since 2013, believe that donating to local, trustworthy organizations are the key to a thriving community. Joe, who provides transportation, says “To be able to donate to a local organization like Verde Valley Caregivers and see your money being used in action for a great cause is a wonderful feeling.”

Sonya, who has provided Care Transitions, hospital to home services, adds, "Some neighbors are very much alone. Those without family or no close friends can feel very isolated. If it weren't for VVCC, older adults wouldn't be able to live alone in the comfort of their own homes. Being able to live independently and comfortably in your own home is a wonderful gift. We believe our own gift to VVCC will contribute to bringing about happiness and independence for older adults in our community."

Ellsworth gives his heartfelt thanks to all of VVCC’s donors and encourages others to please give their support too. “Your gifts will help ensure older adults in your community can stay living in their homes for as long as they wish. We can only do this with your contributions.”

For more information about donating to the “900 New Neighbors in 2015” campaign, please visit http://www.vvcaregivers.org/major-gifts-campaign.html. Pledge cards are also available online. You may also call Linda Clark, development manager at (928) 204-1238. 

VVCC is in its 23rd year of service to nearly 2,400 older adults throughout the Verde Valley who need assistance to live independently in their homes. VVCC has over 300 volunteers who provide transportation to medical and other appointments, grocery shopping, hospital-to-home assistance, installation of medical alert units, as well as business assistance, handy person assistance, respite assistance, pet assistance, and more.  

To learn more about volunteering please contact Kim Meller, operations manager, at (928) 204-1238 or go to: www.vvcaregivers.org.      
     


Contact Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition