When we think of seniors we envision them looking back over their past and savoring the experiences they had when they were younger. We forget that seniors have dreams too and often look forward to once in a lifetime opportunities they haven’t been able to accomplish. As the recreational director of the Cheshire House in Connecticut, Sally Smith realized this and decided to do something about it. She formed Seniors Have Dreams Too. (www.seniorshavedreams.org)
There are a few rules for seniors to qualify for these grants. The applicant must be 70 or older. Their income must be at or below the poverty level of $19,600. They must be a U.S.citizen and they need to be referred by a community agency. Josephine Mastroianni is such a person. She had played piano by ear since she was 7 years old but had never had any formal piano training. Now at age 86 she is taking weekly piano lessons and loving it.
There are other organizations around the country that offer similar opportunities. The Twilight Wish Foundation, ( www.twilightwishfoundation.org ) has 13 chapters in 12 states. To date they have granted 1275 wishes. These wishes include one given to Nora Baird, who had always dreamed about riding in a helicopter and at age 84 got the chance. Bruce Hammond, age 81, a World War ll Vet., had dreamed about going from his home in Cleveland, Texas to the World War ll Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Twilight Wish Foundation granted this wish. His son Russ said “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him cry. He was so thrilled and excited that he was choked up”
The Twilight Wish Foundation also has certain requirements for seniors to qualify. They must be at least 68 years old. Their income can’t be more than 200% of the poverty level and they must have a documented history of giving back to the community.
Each of these organizations are looking for volunteers who want to open up a branch in their community or raise funds to grant the wishes of seniors. I can’t think of a better way for someone to make a real contribution to the lives of our older citizens. Let’s make their dreams come true.