The work that North Shore Area Partners does for the communities is VITAL in helping our elders stay independent and live comfortably in their homes here on the North Shore. The organization has both an extensive calendar of events and resources that they provide to the population they serve. There are a handful of incredible staff that work like glue to coordinate all the necessary components to keep this resource available to the community, but they truly couldn’t reach as many folks as they do without the incredible volunteers that donate their time and endless support.
Stacey Hohman, the NSAP volunteer coordinator, says she feels very fortunate to have such a strong base of volunteers. There are currently around 40 active individuals volunteering their time. Volunteers fill a wide variety of roles within the organization including giving rides, hosting activities, home visits, grocery delivery, gardening, program assistance, pet therapy and more! NSAP volunteers always try to work with Carefree Living and Silver Bay’s MN Veterans Home when possible as well.
The biggest need is usually driving residents from Silver Bay down to Duluth. Clients are billed for these rides on a sliding scale depending on their income, although “even if they don’t have the money we can still give them a ride,” says Stacy. “As long as individuals are able to get themselves into the seat of the car safely, there are volunteers to help give them rides to where they need to be,” she comments.
The volunteer program has been going strong for the last 20 years. “I just can’t say enough about the volunteers and this wonderful community. There are a lot of volunteers that are freshly retired and want to stay busy and give back, so we couldn’t be more thankful for all these individuals. We would not be here without them. I can speak for NSAP when I say thank you,” Stacey says.
Studies have shown that volunteering can help with the wellbeing of each individual and gives them a more enriching life full of purpose.
Bev Yoki is now in her 4th year on the board and has been volunteering whenever there’s a need. She gives rides to clients and helps facilitate reading groups with 3rd graders that come in two Thursday mornings a month. Intergenerational activities are important for the health of the community and its individuals, young and old.
NSAP works to secure funding to make these kinds of programs happen. It is wonderful that the kids are able to learn from and spend time with their elders, and the elders get to have fun with the young ones. It really is such valuable time spent together. “We are still able to give and I’m happy to do so, you never know when we will need help one day,” says Bev.
Bev’s husband, LeRoy, also volunteers with giving rides to clients that need to get groceries or attend medical appointments. “Whatever they need,” he says. He is also known to be quite the handyman and is ready to help individuals get tasks done around their homes when needed.
“It’s amazing how this has blossomed in the last four years since I’ve been on the board. Our arms reach up to Tofte and down to Two Harbors, as well as Isabella. It’s a nice thing to volunteer because we can see how we’re helping people in our communities,” says Bev.
“The staff is just awesome,” boasts LeRoy. “And that’s what makes a person want to volunteer. They really work to serve the community, so people want to go and help them serve as well.”
Marcia Oates, a retired teacher, moved back to the area a few years ago and has been volunteering with NSAP for the last year or two.
Marcia has been incredibly helpful with tech questions for clients and now has a Tech Tuesday slot on the calendar, which is the last Tuesday of the month from 11 – 2 pm at the center. This is where folks with phone/ computer questions can get support. Marcia also helps with the Bone Builders program that takes place every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 – 10:30 am in the building.
“I grew up in Silver Bay and spent 40 years wanting to be back. I was so happy when I retired to be able to come back here. This is just a really special community and I’m not sure if people know until they leave it and come back. Elders are so honored here and there’s such a vital and active older community. North Shore Area Partners is so special and unique in how they have such a far reaching influence on keeping folks in their homes. I mean, if it needs to be done they’ll find a way to do it. I feel really happy to be part of that and helping to keep doing what needs to be done. I really enjoy it,” says Marcia.
In 2020 NSAP acquired a new location in the shopping center in downtown Silver Bay. This new space now has staff offices, community gatherings, meeting rooms, a medical equipment loan closet, as well as a legal aid kiosk. It has been designed to be a one stop shop for aging services in the North Shore area.
There are just so many incredible opportunities to jump in and help with a wide variety of tasks at North Shore Area Partners. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to support the community, please reach out to Stacey Hohman, the program and volunteer coordinator, at 218-353-1391 or by email at email@example.com.
“We are always looking for more, of course. I would say a big need for volunteers in the future will be helping with taxes. This year we did, with the help of Grand Marias and Silver Bay volunteers, over 80 people’s taxes for no charge,” comments Stacey.
You can find the full NSAP activity calendar posted on their website at https://www.nsapartners.org/. All are welcome and encouraged to come join in the fun! Drop in for a cup of coffee any Tuesday or Thursday morning between 9:30 – 12 pm. It’s a great place to make new friends and find out more. Also, donations to NSAP are always welcome and greatly appreciated. You can find the link to donate on their website.