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FALL 2015

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Join our roundtable discussion
"Reshaping LBFE for tomorrow's elders"

We want to hear your ideas! What direction should LBFE take to ensure it is relevant and impactful in serving isolated elders over the next 10 to 20 years? Join us at LBFE, 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis, for one of two dates:

Thursday, Oct. 22, 5:30--8:30 p.m. (light supper included)
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10:30--1:30 p.m. (lunch included)

To register, contact Danielle Fehring at 612.746.0726 or

From the Executive Director
Imagining the LBFE of tomorrow
James Falvey     
Executive Director
Because of you, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is changing the lives of lonely elder-friends, their volunteers and other community members one relationship at a time. In fact, your support of time, talent and treasure is an integral part of what amounts to hundreds of beautiful relationships that meet loneliness and isolation head on.

You can and should feel great about the wonderful things we are doing together to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the individuals we engage - and in the quality of life we elevate for our entire community.

But are we doing enough?

Today, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area is currently estimated to have nearly 230,000 people over the age of 65. Of those, about 17%, or 39,000, both live alone and lack the social support of family and friends that are critical to their physical and mental well-being.

Through Visiting and Advocacy and Friendship and Flowers, two LBFE programs that provide plans for ongoing companionship support, we are engaged with approximately 700 elders each year. That amounts to us reaching less than 2% of those in our area who are in urgent need of our services.

Even more alarming is the fact that a huge influx of baby boomers is now joining this population demographic. Based on projections from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Council on Aging, we can expect the number of elders in the Twin Cities who are isolated and lonely to jump to nearly 50,000 by 2020 -- that's a 28% increase in the number of elders in need of the companionship, advocacy and social engagement that LBFE offers!

What should Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly do to meet these current and future challenges?

Please join us at one of two roundtable discussions to share your thoughts and ideas for how LBFE should (and should not) change to meet the opportunities before us.

You are the lifeblood of LBFE. Thank you for your ongoing support and for helping us to chart a course into the future.

James Falvey
Executive Director
You make wishes come true!
Your support keeps the wheels of LBFE turning, making it possible for us to connect isolated elders to our caring community. Volunteers and supporters have recently responded to elders' wishes and needs that we've made known and the results have been truly heartwarming!

In our summer issue of Among Friends, we told you about Donald, 85, who lost all of his belongings, including his computer, due to a bedbug infestation. He moved to a new care facility but, as his Visiting Volunteer, Chad Schueler, explained, he was more isolated than ever without the Internet. After reading our newsletter article, a former volunteer (who wishes to remain anonymous) tracked down Chad and said she and her husband wanted to purchase an iPad for Donald. "They were both very nice people and big supporters of what we do at LBFE," said Chad, who brought the iPad to Donald's facility and set it up. "He is now happily surfing the web and we even FaceTime (he is still learning that part). He was so very grateful for their donation."

Elders who are isolated long for the little things in life that we take for granted. Laura, 80, simply wanted to go to a White Castle, which she often did as a child but hasn't been able to for years because of her disabilities. In August, volunteer Bhavik Patel granted her wish by bringing her by the White Castle in St. Paul that she frequented many years ago. "She remembered her childhood days and discussed her experiences as a St. Paul resident while enjoying her burger, fries and soda in the car," Bhavik said. When they returned to her nursing home, the friendly encounter continued. "Once she settled down on the couch, we listened to a Prairie Home Companion podcast on my iPhone and it made her laugh," Bhavik relayed.

Volunteer Ariel Pittner saw our request for someone to fulfill 85-year-old Marie's dream of "lunch and a movie." After receiving her phone number, Ariel called Marie and they made their plans for an upcoming afternoon. "We ate at Panera, then saw McFarland, USA," Ariel reported. "She had a great time and loved the movie! Overall I'd say it was a great afternoon!"
Thank you, LBFE supporters and volunteers, for your thoughtfulness and generosity! Because of you, our elder friends experience joy and hope every day of the year.
Visiting Volunteer program
Special friends paint the town red!
Joan and Bridget toasted on a recent visit to a Stillwater vineyard.

If you were to join Visiting Volunteer Bridget Ische and her elder friend Joan on one of their jaunts around the cities, you'd think they were more like sorority sisters.

Bridget and Joan have been meeting up once or twice a month for the past three years and together have visited dozens of exciting venues, including the Arboretum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minnesota Zoo, apple orchards, the Holidazzle Parade, the Midtown Market, wineries in Stillwater and the Minnesota State Fair. "We even took in the Happy Together tour last year at the Fair, which included bands from the '60s that Joan loved," Bridget said. They never seem to run out of ideas of where to go and what to do. "I read articles and listen to the news to get ideas, and also check out Groupon and Living Social to see where we can find discounts, and then we plan our next adventure," Bridget said.

A while ago, the two went to Canterbury Park because Joan wanted to try her luck on the horses. "She bet on and won the trifecta and afterwards I went to cash in her ticket. When I came back she was expecting me to hand her a few dollars. You should have seen the look on her face when I showed her the two hundred bucks she had won!"

While there's a considerable age difference -- Bridget is 32 and Joan is 84 -- they get along amazingly well and enjoy many of the same foods and things to do. "My outings with Joan are something we both really look forward to," Bridget said. "It motivates us to plan out exactly what we want to do - otherwise it would be too easy to fall into a pattern of doing the same things on our visits."
There are moments when Bridget is made more aware of Joan's age -- for example, if they're walking up some stairs and Joan gets out of breath, or when she steadies herself using Bridget's arm. "But for the most part, she acts and looks much younger than her physical age," Bridget observed.

The two friends were matched after Bridget signed up to become a Visiting Volunteer. "I really wanted to bring joy into an elder's life," she said. When she was introduced to Joan she was thrilled to discover how much they had in common. "She's my friend and, while I know I'm providing Joan the companionship she wants and needs, I feel a little selfish because I'm getting companionship, too." It's inspired Bridget to want to share her experience with others. "I refer a lot of people to LBFE's Visiting Volunteer program," she attested.

Learn more about becoming a Visiting Volunteer today! Contact Georgia Afton, Volunteer and Outreach Manager, at 612.746.0732 or
Are you a busy Millennial?
Your short-term volunteering makes an impact!

Visiting Volunteers like Jeanne Perna (left) help ensure LBFE elder friends maintain their independence as long as possible.
Volunteers are the heart and hands of LBFE. As a volunteer, you enable us to bring joy to isolated elders every day. In fact, in our past fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, 1268 volunteers contribute a whopping 6,848 hours. Without you, we could not achieve our mission!

In recent years, there has more interest in shorter-term volunteer commitments - that is, one-time opportunities or limited time frames of just a month or two. This is true for area nonprofits across the board. In a recent survey of 255 nonprofit leaders published by the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration, 86% say they are seeing an increased interest in shorter-term volunteering.

19% of LBFE volunteers 
are age 35 or younger

An age group that tends to seek short-term roles is the Millennial generation, or those who are currently between 20 and 35. And there's little wonder that their time is limited! Persons of this age are often in transition, balancing college and work, embarking on careers and putting their energies into starting families.

"While of course we'd love our volunteers to commit to several hours a month and stay with us for at least a year, we also want people to know they can be a part of LBFE even if their time is limited," said Georgia Afton, Volunteer and Outreach Manager for LBFE. "We offer volunteer opportunities that accommodate people's tight schedules. And the door is open in case they want to become more involved down the road." Longer-term volunteers, such as Visiting Volunteers, are required to attend an orientation and basic training. "However, we waive that requirement for many short-term opportunities," said Georgia.

Another growing trend for Millennials is volunteering as part of a workplace incentive program. A study by the research agency Achieve revealed that 70% of Millennials volunteered in 2014, and 45% of those who volunteered said it was either offered or promoted by their employer, usually as part of a company-wide volunteer day or with paid time off to volunteer. And, they're more likely to volunteer if asked by a co-worker.

"This past year, a number of companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, McGough Construction, Thrivent and Farnam Street Financial, have provided volunteer groups and sponsorship of our social events and holiday parties," said Georgia. "Volunteers invest a few hours planning the event and interacting with our elders. They leave knowing they've made a real difference. And these short-term activities can become a key piece of a company's social responsibility plan."
Short-term volunteer options 

If you'd like to volunteer for LBFE but worry about being overcommitted, or if your company is looking for opportunities for community involvement, here are some shorter-term options that are long on impact:
  • Holiday dinners (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter Day). Greet, provide companionship, set-up and serve, clean-up or assist in the kitchen. Shifts are three to five hours.
  • Cards, Crafts and Coffee Group (Fourth Thursday of each month, 9:30 - 11:30). Mingle with elders, provide companionship, play games and serve refreshments.
  • Gift drives (year-round). Shop for holiday or birthday gifts based on our elders' "wish lists." In-kind donations requested.
  • Skills-based projects (year-round). Use your skills, such as gardening, baking, research or technology, to help LBFE further our mission.
  • Elder Day Dreams (year-round). Fulfill, create or sponsor an LBFE elder's wish for a one-time outing.
To learn more, or to sign up for these opportunities, please contact Georgia Afton at or 612.746.0732.

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

Friday, October 23
Friday, December 4

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
LBFE, 1845 E Lake St.

Our new monthly "cafe" brings 
LGBT boomers and seniors together in friendship and acceptance. 
  • A hearty lunch
  • Scrumptious dessert
  • Great conversation
  • Information on senior and boomer LGBT services
Seating is limited: Register today! 
or 612.746.0726

LET'S DO LUNCH is a joint effort 
by LBFE and Prime Timers MSP. 
Sponsored by PFund.

BIRTHDAY BLING. Allegra Printing of Arden Hills sponsored our June birthday lunch of roasted chicken and dessert at the Bradford House on Lake Josephine. Allegra employee Mike Strub (pictured with elder friend Don) showed up bearing gifts of notecards, pens and other awesome swag for our elders.
LEARNING HAPPENS AT ANY AGE. LBFE elder friends spent an August afternoon at Ames Lake Neighborhood Center on the Eastside of St. Paul. Students, elders and volunteers mingled during this intergenerational "share and learn." The events take place four times a year. We appreciate our ongoing partnership with Ames Lake Neighborhood, which is a part of Opportunity Neighborhood.
TWINS TREAT! Elder friends and die-hard fans Joyce and Beth, accompanied by LBFE staff members Chelsea Sander and Kelly Farrell, were ecstatic when Eddie Rosario hit a grand slam against the White Sox at an early September game. After all that, it didn't matter that the Twins still lost. Tickets were generously donated by Mike Kocun.

SWING TIME. Roseville Rotarians closed out the summer with music, singing and exuberant dancing at the September birthday picnic on the grounds of the Bradford House. The Rotary Club also provided fabulous barbecue fare and took photos that will be cherished keepsakes for our elders. 

The following elder friends we served were remembered at our August memorial service:
Mel Becker
Ted Betrose
Molly Friedman
Flora Walker Grubich
Paul Noyes
Agnes Prichard
Lenora Rasmusson
Evelyn Schwartz
Geraldine Sherry
Jim Whitcomb

Our next memorial service is:
Monday, November 16
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 Sandy at 612.746.0724 or 
if you wish to attend. Open to all.

You already give to LBFE -- now let your workplace add to your impact! There's a good chance your employer has a workplace giving program that will allocate corporate dollars to LBFE.

Matching gift programs. Nearly two-thirds of employers, including local companies such as Thrivent Financial, Thomson Reuters and Medtronic, match employee payroll contributions. Most will match contributions given through the program dollar for dollar up to a certain amount.

"Dollars for doers" programs. A number of corporations, such as Allina Health System, UnitedHealth Group, Medica and 3M, will provide grants of around $10 - $15 per volunteer hour to nonprofit organizations that their employees volunteer with on a regular basis.

Greater Twin Cities United Way. If your employer is among the nearly 2,000 corporations that participate in the fall campaign, you can help reach your company's United Way goals by designating your donation to LBFE. While we're not currently a listed Agency Partner, you can write in our name. Be sure to include our complete name and address (Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly/MN, 1845 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407) along with the contribution amount.

To learn about giving programs that may be available to you, contact your company's human resources department.

GIVE TO THE MAX DAY IS NOVEMBER 12! As you decide which worthy causes to support, please keep LBFE in mind. Your donation will go directly to providing companionship, social activities, advocacy and referrals to isolated elders throughout the Twin Cities. You can donate online through our page on or, of course, at

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