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WINTER 2013 / 2014


Twin Cities' isolated elders are counting on the Not Alone! 2013 campaign

Who do you turn to when you need comfort and assurance? Who do you call when you know the answer will be, "We're behind you"? For most of us, that's family.


For hundreds of isolated and lonely elders in the Twin Cities area, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is the only family they know. Your gift to the Not Alone! 2013 Campaign will allow us to reach out to more isolated and lonely elders, and assure them in the words of our founder, Armand Marquiset: "No, dear friend, you are not alone. The Little Brothers will be your family."


Learn more about how your gift to Not Alone! 2013 will have an immediate impact. 


Donate online


From the Executive Director

Unleash your gifts from within

Greg Voss_email

Greg Voss,

Executive Director


You have it in you - a talent or skill that uniquely defines you. It could be a hobby or special interest like baking or social media that you're eager to share. Maybe it's a talent, like organizing or planning events, that you take for granted and don't even realize is impacting those around you. Or perhaps you have the type of mind that spins with ideas - ideas that build partnerships in order to meet strategic goals.


During the holiday season, a mention of the word "gifts" makes us think of the tangible kind - gifts to be bought, wrapped and presented to family and friends. But don't overlook the gifts you can give that come from within. For it just may be that your skills and talents, once shared, are some of the most valuable gifts you have to present.


I invite you to share your talents with us as we work daily to enhance the lives of isolated and lonely elders in the Twin Cities. Take a moment to look within. By doing so, you may uncover that gift that could bring life-changing joy and hope for our elders - and personal growth for you.


Volunteer opportunities abound here at Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly. There are opportunities to spend time with our elders, either individually or in a group setting. You could share your experience and ideas on an action team or planning committee. Or simply give us a call and we'll explore together how to best mesh your skills with our organizational needs.


Your inspiration could be the articles and calendar of events included in this newsletter. I'm confident you'll find something that will spark the gift within you to come out and be shared for the sake of our elders.

Greg Voss
Executive Director

"Elder Isolation in the LGBT Community: Concerns, Risks, Solutions"


When: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 6 - 9 p.m.


Where: Center for Changing Lives, 2400 Park Ave. S., Mpls.


LBFE is committed to relieving elder isolation. Since our beginning here in the Twin Cities in 1972, we have been bringing joy and connectedness to those who are alone and otherwise forgotten. At times, our program staff takes on an advocacy role if there are indications that the elder can no longer care for themselves or is not receiving the care that they need. When an elder can no longer live on their own, we maintain those connections as they move into assisted living facilities.


While LBFE is concerned about elder isolation in general, we are aware that the risks of isolation are even greater among those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. According to the 2012 Twin Cities LGBT Aging Needs Assessment Survey, LGBT persons are more likely to live alone and have fewer children to look after them as they age. What's more, they are less likely to have a caregiver - yet, ironically, are more likely to be caregivers themselves.

Even in our "enlightened" society, members of the LGBT community are more likely to suffer physical and emotional abuse by their caregivers, often as "punishment" for, or denial of, their sexual orientation. And, sadly, they are more likely to die alone, forgoing medical care in order to avoid humiliation and abuse.


LBFE, in partnership with Prime Timers MSP, is presenting a forum to raise awareness and present solutions to elder isolation in the LGBT community. The forum will include a showing of the award-winning documentary, Gen Silent, with presentations by representatives from AARP Minnesota, Right at Home and Training to Serve. In addition, Tara Patet, Sr. Prosecutor with the St. Paul City Attorney's Office and LBFE board member, will discuss the connection between isolation and LGBT elder abuse, and Julie Switzer, M.D., Director of Geriatric Trauma at Regions Hospital, will offer a balanced medical perspective.


The forum is made possible through the LGBT Aging Initiative, a PFund grant opportunity awarded jointly to LBFE and Prime Timers MSP.


Please stay tuned to our website and our Facebook page for more details about the forum and registration information, or contact Danielle at or 612.746.0726.

Take a book, return a book!


LBFE Program Manager Kelly Farrell and elder friend Mary display the Little Free Library installed in Mary's yard.
This October, a Little Free Library was installed in the lawn in front of LBFE's offices. The Library is a welcoming spot where our neighbors, visitors, LBFE elders, and volunteers can stop by, pick up a book, and later return that book or another book to share. LBFE is the Library's "steward": we ensure that the Library remains stocked with donated books and spread the word to encourage its use.


The Library is the result of an AARP Foundation grant to Little Free, with the suggestion that LBFE be a recipient. In addition to the one on our property, we will be installing Libraries at the homes of 19 of our elders and volunteers across the Twin Cities. To date, we have installed nine Libraries.

Volunteer benefits with tai chi and Spanish lessons


Volunteer Chet Mirocha

When Chet Mirocha became a Visiting Volunteer, he had no idea that it would improve him in both body and mind.


About 18 months ago, Chet was matched with elder friend Manuel. The challenge was that Manuel spoke very little English, and - well - that's the only language Chet spoke. So he began brushing up on his Spanish.


"It was a win-win," admitted Chet. "I'm slowly learning and can get along pretty well with understanding Manuel." He gets a bit of assistance, too, from friends who speak Spanish. "I meet with five guys every Wednesday, and a couple of them trade off and come with me on my visits with Manuel." Both friends are named Juan so he jokingly refers to them as Primaro and Segundo. "Manuel is very animated when he speaks, too," said Chet, which makes it even easier to communicate.


And while their visits sharpen Chet's language skills, they also help keep him in shape. That's because their Monday visits have included a tai chi class at Manuel's housing complex. "The tai chi class is well-attended, and it's good exercise," Chet said. "It really loosens up the joints and you feel great for the rest of the day."


Chet's history with LBFE goes back more than 20 years, to the former Newman Center on the U of M campus. "That's where many of us would help out Little Brothers by wrapping holiday packages and preparing for their banquets," he explained.


Chet had been a plant pathologist who taught at the U of M. Since his retirement, he and his wife, Donna, split their time among their home in the Como Park neighborhood, vacationing in Arizona, and their rustic cabin up north, where they enjoy bird watching. "The most important pieces of equipment you need are a good pair of binoculars and a feeder full of sunflower seeds," he said.


But Chet always looks forward to coming back to St. Paul and his friendly visits with Manuel. "I enjoy the casual conversation, and you learn so much from the elderly," he said. "They've been around a long time -- you're getting a history lesson with each visit."

Find us on Facebook

Donate to Not Alone 2013
From the Executive Director
Forum on LGBT elder isolation
Take a book, return a book!
Volunteer gets added benefits from visits
Activities calendar
Be a driver / companion at Christmas
Recent grants awarded
In memory
Gallery: bridging generations



Become a vibrant part of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly!






Where: Bethel Lutheran Church, 4120 17th Ave. S., Minneapolis

When: Christmas Day, 12-2 p.m.


Make your Christmas extra-special as a dinner volunteer! Drivers/dinner companions and meal are our greatest need. Families are welcome (limit to four please). Contact Josh at 612.746.0732 or



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Support LBFE's mission of providing companionship to isolated seniors in the

Twin Cities




Wells Fargo employee and LBFE volunteer Julie Dey was honored at the September board meeting for nominating LBFE to receive the Wells Fargo Volunteer Service Award. Pictured with Julie are Executive Director Greg Voss and Board President Chris Maddox.




Our heartfelt thanks are offered to the following organizations that have recently awarded grants or gifts to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly


Elmer L. and Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation (general operating)


Catholic Community Foundation (companionship services program)


Charity, Inc. (general operating)


Cimperman Family Charitable Foundation of the U.S. Charitable Gift Trust (general operating)


Paul and Patricia Curran Foundation (general operating)


Leonette M. and Fred T. Lanners Foundation (NEST)


North Suburban Community Foundation (general operating/Roseville focus)


Onan Family Foundation (general operating)


The Casey Albert T. O'Neil Foundation (general operating)


Target (general operating)


The Voelbel Family Fund of the Twin Cities Christian Foundation (general operating)


H.E. and Helen R. Warren Foundation (general operating)


Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota (general operating)


Otto C. Winzen Charitable Fund of the Catholic Community Foundation (general operating)





The following people we served were remembered at our October memorial service:


Bill Edewaard

Tomas Gonzales

Ellie Marzell

Betty Opatrny

Frank Perry

Gary Ramsdell

Judy Wagner


Our next memorial services are Monday, Dec. 16 and Monday, February 17 from 4-5 p.m. at 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis. 

We encourage anyone whose life has been touched by an elder we served to attend our memorial service. Please contact Josh Windham at 612.746.0732 or if you wish to attend. Open to all. 







   LBFE elders joined with youth at the Ames Lake Neighborhood Center for games and art projects. the afternoon helped students better understand the issues older persons face while the elders appreciated the youths' spirit and diversity.


  As part of Citizen Katie 2013, this volunteer group from St. Catherine University stopped by the home of elder friend Delores Burg to rake leaves and do household chores.
MOMS Club of Richfield/SE Mpls. treated our elders to a Halloween party. Everyone -- elders, moms and kids -- came in costume. Spiderman, a turtle, a monkey, a fairy, a bumblebee and more all showed up to play games and go trick or treating.

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