Puget Sound Energy Foundation grants at work in our community: Island Volunteer Caregivers

The Puget Sound Energy Foundation (PSEF) is delighted to award Island Volunteer Caregivers (IVC) with a grant to fund training for three island organizations and their clients. Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center (est. 1983), Helpline House (est. 1967), and IVC (est. 1996) have served the needs of a fast-growing population of seniors and those with disabilities on Bainbridge for a combined total of 120 years and counting! In recent years, the three organizations have increased their cooperative efforts to serve their participants numbering currently over 400 individuals for IVC; 1600 BISCC’s membership; and Helpline’s 684 served in the past year.

These three organizations are all committed to enhancing the lives of their individual participants, and they work cooperatively towards that goal. Combined, they provide a variety of services and needs from transportation, life enrichment, education, health and emergency, and in the past two years, they have worked together to successfully pivot to meet the unique and particular needs in light of COVID.

With the pandemic the past two years, the increased isolation, depression and length of time away from friends, family and community has taken a toll. With that in mind, the training for staff members will expand their knowledge of depression and social isolation; provide tools to help them to better engage with participants who have seen the challenges of aging and disabilities increase substantially during these COVID years; be able to help them identify, understand, and manage their feelings; and allow them to make lasting healthy and rewarding life changes to become strong assets to the greater community.

The grant funding for the training could not have come at a more important time. It will allow these three organizations to continue working together to address these substantial aging issues and help shine more light on the serious needs of those suffering with issues of aging, social isolation, and depression, as well as the impact on health and financial and social services in the community.