How long have you volunteered with NEST and what do you find great about it?
I have been volunteering with NEST for about a year now. Getting to know a very lovely couple, my friends Don and Martha Jean Flaherty, has been a highlight and a privilege.
What has been your favorite experience while volunteering with NEST?
Don is a life-long fisherman and hiker so he enjoys getting outside (rain or shine) for a walk. Since I enjoy walking too, it has been a delight to spend one day a week walking the trails through the beautiful Ravenna Park and neighborhood. Usually I drive over to the Flaherty house in the afternoon around 2:30 on my way home from work and Don and I take off for one to two hours. We always head to the local coffee shop with stops along the way to greet fellow walkers or observe birds, dogs and nature. Don always has his pockets filled with Martha Jean’s wonderful cookies for us to enjoy with coffee, and (of course) treats for my dog and his buddy, Samson. He shares his fishing stories, travel adventures and updates me on his kids and grand-kids and trips he and Martha Jean take to Whidbey Island. Plus, I get to learn quite a bit since he is a scientist.
What drives you in helping seniors?
NEST has provided me with the opportunity to connect with my community, make wonderful new friends, and to have a very fun walking buddy – thanks Don and Martha Jean, and thank you NEST!
Esther Barclay spent the major part of her adult life as a teacher. She has taught people of all ages, from kindergarten through grade school and high school, and adults at the Evergreen State College. Her most engaging interest is as a reading specialist, not remedial reading, but rather the art of how to incorporate reading skills into the teaching of any subject.
Esther also enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language, which gave her numerous opportunities to learn more about other cultures. But if you have ideas about what teachers do you will have to revise them when you meet Esther. She does not talk loudly (although her articulation is clear). She never tells you what to think or how to do something. She does not draw attention to what you can’t do. Her way of being is to draw people out so they can discover their own talents, skills, knowledge, and strengths. She makes them aware that what they do has impact. And her own impact is extensive. By illustration, she recently re-met one of her former students, who said “You were my kindergarten teacher!” Twenty-one years later! Multiply that by the literally thousands of individuals whose lives she touched. Wow!
At this time in her life Esther is blessed with a huge number of friends and relatives, who are a font of support and encouragement. But she is aware that at our age the number keeps on shrinking, and besides, she likes to meet new people, and that is one of the things that drew her early into NEST. She had some rather debilitating health problems early during her membership in NEST, and found her connections with the organization were a good complement to the help she received from relatives and neighbors. But NEST also stimulated her interests. She was raised with plentiful access to nature and outdoors (in Eastern Washington) and has retained a love of nature that she can indulge in her garden which she is enjoying redesigning. She is optimistic about Many of the cultural changes she sees happening under the auspices of the Obama presidency. She is a supporter of the close by Sustainable Northeast Seattle Tool Library. Of course Esther loves to read, she also walks regularly while listening to library books on tape. And she follows the antics of her 13 nieces and nephews on Facebook. Her health changes have made it more difficult to travel, but they also have opened up new ways of communicating, especially with her sister, as well as allowing her to un-guiltily do less in the way of arrangements for her numerous visitors. All in all it is clear that Esther is a master at making lemonade from any lemons that come her way.
We are forever thankful to our sister village, Beacon Hill Village, in Boston, MA for starting a movement that we are so very proud to be apart. If you ever wonder how NEST works, or what is possible here in NE Seattle, take a look at this great piece by PBS NEWSHOUR staff.
(Please be patient. The video can take a few minutes to load)
Watch Seniors Hold on to Urban Independence Into Old Age on PBS. See more from PBS NEWSHOUR.
NEST Board of Director responsibilities include:
How to Apply: We encourage all interested persons to contact us for additional information. A brief resume or biographical sketch is helpful, and check out the NEST website, www.nestseattle.org, if you are interested in reviewing our current board of directors.
NEST Board Development Committee co-chairs: