men and women at table smiling at camera

Mystic Valley Elder Services hosts a Volunteer Appreciation event every year to celebrate the special people who open their hearts to help older adults and people with disabilities in our community. They’re essential to our mission and we’re so grateful to them!

While we celebrate our volunteers year-round, we hold our Volunteer Appreciation event in April to coincide with National Volunteer Month. This year’s event was held April 10, 2024 at Memorial Hall in Melrose. (View the full photo gallery from the event on Facebook, with some highlights on our other social media.)

Our Keynote Speaker was Sandra Harris, Volunteer State President of AARP’s Massachusetts State Office. Her remarks were deeply moving for the staff and volunteers of Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES).

Ms. Harris pointed out that there is a Loneliness Epidemic in America. She cited the U.S. Surgeon General, who described loneliness as a public health crisis that is as dangerous as smoking daily in terms of the increased health risks.

collage of 3 photos of smiling women. guest speaker in center image. other 2 show  volunteers and staff.

Ms. Harris observed that we all got a taste of isolation and loneliness during COVID, yet for many, that experience didn’t go away with the end of quarantine.

“We can’t ignore or forget those for whom loneliness is a way of life,” Ms. Harris said. She lauded our volunteers for the important social connection they offer to combat loneliness, in addition to the varied supports and services they provide. We’re thankful to Ms. Harris for speaking at our event; her words touched all of us.

While the topic was serious, MVES strived to make the event a celebration of our volunteers and the difference they make every day. After enjoying lunch and listening to the speakers, we closed out the afternoon on a fun note. Over dessert and coffee, we raffled off numerous gift cards as well as the lovely floral arrangements that decorated each table.

Our sincere thanks to our amazing volunteers, and to our team members who work closely with them, including Volunteer Engagement Manager Nicole Sanders O’Toole and Director of Community Programs Lauren Reid. We’d also like to recognize AARP Massachusetts State Director Michael Festa, a longtime ally of MVES, who introduced Ms. Harris and shared how volunteerism under her leadership has impacted his organization.

As Ms. Harris said, volunteerism is the backbone of our society. Are you interested in making a difference in your community? Contact us and we’ll help you find a good fit for your schedule as well as your interests and talents! Call 781-324-7705, email, or fill out the form on our Volunteer webpage.

Group of MVES and AARP officials smiling and holding flowers from ceterpieces

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