ACTS Celebrates 15th Year of Senior Link

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By Kate Anderson

Sponsored by ACTS

Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc. (ACTS) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving the residents of the Greater Prince William Area, including the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. In 1969, thirteen local churches came together forming the organization with the purpose of preventing and alleviating human suffering. ACTS fosters hope, provides relief, and promotes self-sufficiency for the Prince William area.

ACTS’s mission includes the mantra, “We are committed to creating a community where no one goes without or suffers alone.”

ACTS’s services include a comprehensive domestic violence prevention and intervention program to include the whole family—women, men and children. In addition, Helpline provides an anonymous crisis telephone service as well as resource referrals. Each of the programs addresses the mission of ACTS: to alleviate hunger, homelessness and interpersonal violence in order to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency.

Senior Link

This October, ACTS is celebrating 15 years of a Helpline program called Senior Link. Begun in 2005, the Senior Link program has trained listeners who reach out to seniors who may feel isolated, shut in due to disability or aliment, or just need to hear a friendly voice for a chat. Senior Link means to connect, and these trained listeners can also connect seniors with resource referrals and can even provide medication reminders, but only twice a day.

Kate Long, Helpline Director, said, “It is an amazing accomplishment and we enjoy providing this service. We are able to ask them how they are doing daily and develop a bond with them.” A Senior Link volunteer also values the service ACTS provides. “I believe this service is invaluable. Whether it’s a chat about the weather or a quick hello, it’s clear from client and family feedback that this program helps keep seniors connected.”

With Senior Link, family members or agencies can also make arrangements with the program to call their senior loved one who might be home alone for long periods of time. “My supervisor started Senior Link 15 years ago because there was and continues to be such a need to support seniors and the daily check-in service is a way to do that,” said Long.

Helpful for Shut-Ins

During COVID-19 this service has been particularly helpful for the shut-in seniors. Staff and volunteers making well over 1,000 calls every month, making this program is an unsung hero. Long said, “The need for Senior Link grew with the pandemic. Senior Link clients have often said we are the only ones that call them, and they are glad we did. We do not want them to feel alone.”

As a Senior Link volunteer says, “It is an honor to make Senior Link calls on the ACTS Helpline. Our Senior Link friends appreciate our calls, whether is to say ‘Hello.’ or to provide a reminder to take one’s medication, or to have a short conversation. Senior Link is often one of the few contacts our friends have with the outside world, and in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, that is especially important. Our friends look forward to our calls. ‘Friends’ is the right word to describe them, because over the years of calling, we have all truly become friends.”

Senior Link provides phone calls on a scheduled basis from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. To begin this completely free service, you can sign up to receive these calls. If you or someone you know or care for would like to benefit from these calls, call 703-441-8606 ext. 210 and ask for Senior Link. Arrangements will be made to schedule a convenient time for you, your loved one, or someone your service or facility cares for.

How to Volunteer

Are you interested in helping ACTS and Senior Link? Volunteers are always needed. Interested volunteers have to be trained in what it means to be a good listener, particularly demonstrating empathy and proper tone of voice. Volunteers also have to be able to navigate a computer. To check out the programs and crisis services ACTS offers, volunteer opportunities, and ways you or your company can partner with ACTS and the Senior Link program, visit actspwc.org.

 

 

 

 

 

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