As a member of our extended Catholic Community Service (CCS) family – whether you are a client, caregiver, volunteer, or other supporter – we are so happy to have you in our community. We are excited about all the great things happening at CCS locations all over Southeast Alaska and wanted to share our news with you! In this first edition of our newsletter:
You probably know about CCS services in your community, but you might not know that we have senior centers throughout Southeast Alaska, from Angoon to Yakutat. In addition, the S.A.F.E Child Advocacy Center serves children and families throughout the Southeast region.
In Juneau we provide Hospice and Home Care services, as well as the Bridge Adult Day Center. In future issues of this newsletter, we will profile the services in each community and introduce you to some of our staff.
You should also be aware that CCS serves the entire community, regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, or disability. We are so very proud to serve everyone in Southeast Alaska, including you and your family!
I hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for subjects you would like to see covered in future editions.
Erin Walker-Tolles Executive Director, Catholic Community Service, Inc
Rides offered through the CCS network of senior centers are vitally important to our elders and citizens with disabilities, so that they can maintain their health, independent living, and quality of life. And the CCS paratransit services often are the only way for Southeast seniors and people with disabilities to get to the doctor, shop for groceries, attend church, and remain engaged in the community.
According to Saxman-Ketchikan Senior Center site manager Emily Fuller, senior citizens and people with disabilities throughout the Ketchikan Gateway Borough are no exception; however, the existing CCS buses may not be up to the task. “Our fleet of vehicles is aging,” she said, “so we applied for grants to purchase replacement vehicles. Thanks to the Alaska Department of Transportation, we were awarded a grant of $67,000 toward the cost of a new vehicle.”
The grant requires that the community provide a 20 percent match, or $16,800, in order to receive the funding. To that end, the fundraising goal for the Saxman-Ketchikan senior center is $16,800 to cover the required local match. Emily stated, “If we receive more than that amount, we will use any remaining funds to help operate our transportation service for seniors and people with disabilities.”
As of early October, Emily reports that the fundraising campaign is off to a great start and that it is over halfway to the goal. To all who have contributed to this effort, thank you for your support! And please know that it is not too late to help. You can donate online (be sure to type “Ketchikan Bus” under Message of Support) or send your donation check to:
Saxman-Ketchikan Senior Center 2401 Eagle Avenue, #2 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
Feel free to contact Emily at 225-6578 if you have any questions.
In addition to end-of-life and home health care, Hospice and Home Care of Juneau provides bereavement support services to the Juneau community. Anyone who has suffered a loss can take advantage of these services, whether they are an HHCJ client or not.
New group Hospice and Home Care of Juneau has launched a drop-in Bereavement Support Group that meets the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Bridge Adult Day Center in Juneau. According to Bereavement Coordinator Beth Parsons, the group will examine what grief looks like, different tasks of grieving, changes in roles, and dealing with memories. “Groups are really helpful for people who are grieving, because group members understand what you are going through. Not everyone in the community understands what it’s like to lose a really close family member, or grieve a really significant loss.” Although she said it can be hard to push yourself to join a group for the first time, most people find the experience beneficial. “People who are grieving tend to be more isolated, and sometimes they feel alone. A group can really help.” For more information, call Beth Parsons at 463-6111. Coping with the Holidays Also in November, HHCJ will partner with the Widowed Persons Program to present a Grief, Loss, and the Holidays program. The holidays can be an especially difficult time of the year for those experiencing the loss of a loved one. The program seeks to offer suggestions and tools for coping with the holiday season and how to create new traditions that honor the memory of loved ones. This program will take place on November 13, 2018, at 5:30 pm at the Fireweed Place and is open to anyone in the community. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Sue Nielsen (email@example.com) at 586-6424 or Sandy DeLong at 209-2307.
Remembrance Gathering HHCJ invites the public to its annual Remembrance Gathering to be held Sunday, November 18, at 3:00 p.m. at the Bridge Adult Day Center at 1803 Glacier Highway. Anyone who wishes to honor and remember a loved one who has died is welcome to attend. Dan Wiese, Hospice Chaplain, will be the guest speaker, and there will be a special candle lighting ceremony in memory of loved ones. Refreshments will be served at a reception following the ceremony. For more information, please call Beth Parsons at 463-6111.
All bereavement services are free, although donations are accepted. To learn more about the group and other services, please call 463-6111.
In the past several months, Erin Walker-Tolles, Executive Director of CCS, has been visiting Southeast Alaska communities with the goal of learning what people in those communities need from the agency.
According to Erin, the goal of CCS is to help people “maintain their independence and their dignity.” Through the senior programs, staff and volunteers give seniors a way to maintain their independence by offering transportation, a place to have lunch and socialize, or by delivering meals to their homes. Southeast Senior Services, a division of CCS, also offers family caregivers a variety of support services to help them manage their stress, maintain their health, and successfully continue to care for their elder loved ones in the home.
However, the needs of the different communities served by Catholic Community Service vary and Erin is aware of the differences, “They do what works for them in their communities,” since they know the people and have made the relationships. She continued, “My job is to allow the people who do the real work to do their jobs and get them what they need.”
In her travels – to Haines, Wrangell, Sitka, Craig/Klawock, and Ketchikan so far – Erin has been asking people what they need from the agency. She says she has taken this approach because “It really should be more about what they say they need, than what I think they should have.” She said that these meetings have helped people in the smaller communities see that CCS doesn’t just serve Juneau and that every community is important. Erin attributes the organization’s longevity and success to the staff and volunteers, “I’m blown away by how amazing people are and how many great ideas there are, because it really is a collaboration.” With the collaboration of caring and compassionate staff and volunteers, the services offered by CCS will continue to help those in need in southeast Alaska. Zoom In (+) on the map below to see the communities in Southeast Alaska that have senior centers.
Parts of this story are excerpted from an article by Dominique Johnson in The Inside Passage, a publication of the Diocese of Juneau.
Catholic Community Service, Inc. 419 6th Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-6100