COMMUNITY SERVICE: As volunteer coordinator for Services Now for Adult Persons , Inc (SNAP), Suzanne Windland makes sure that the seniors of eastern Queens are not left alone. Windland finds volunteers of all ages to visit the elderly homebound for one hour a week, assisting them with food shopping, household tasks or simply just spending time playing games.
“They’re there to be a friend,” Windland said. “It has made an amazing impact on so many seniors. It’s an easy way for those with busy schedules who want to give back to be able to.”
SNAP has been working from its location in Queens Village for the past 25 years. The group also provides Meals on Wheels for the homebound, bereavement services, as well as offering meals and classes at the center.
JOB/BACKGROUND: In her spare time, Windland works as a Zumba instructor for people of all ages.
She has also been heavily involved with the local Parent Teacher Associations at the schools her three daughters attended, all of whom graduated from the NYC public school system.
INSPIRATION: Windland says she gets the immediate gratification from the seniors who volunteers visit and are an inspiration to continue the work of SNAP. She says this is something that extends to the volunteers themselves, as they receive joy in knowing they have helped.
FAVORITE MEMORY: Windland remembers one instance in which an elderly person who painted was paired up with a volunteer who also painted.
Before having a visitor, the senior was lonely and did not paint as much. After having the visits, the two would paint together.
“The paintings that came out of that partnership were amazing,” said Windland.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Windland says the hardest challenge is finding volunteers who are able to take public transportation to the seniors’ homes. “Sometimes it takes the volunteers up to an hour to get to the home. That’s why I’m ecstatic when someone says they have a car.”
-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY