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September 15, 1989 - Image 107

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-15

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Glenn Triest

Sylvia Stith reminisces With visitor/friend Sarah Schiff.


ylvia Smith glances
out the window of
her Farmington
apartment and re-
marks that the scaf-
folding of a nearby construc-
tion project looks like the Eif-
fel Tower. "It's a new com-
plex," she says, "but now it's
occupied by Canadian geese
and ducks." Sarah Schiff
follows Sylvia's gaze and
replies, "Enjoy them while
they're here."
philosophy Schiff follows and
has passed on to Smith. Schiff
is a member of the National
Council of Jewish Women and
volunteers to visit Smith, who
lives in the Cardinal Retire-
ment Village. Schiff is part of
SPARC (Senior Project Ad-
vocacy/Resource Coordina-
tion), a four-year-old program
combining the NCJW with
the local Area Agency on Ag-
ing 1-B.
SPARC, teams local
volunteers with senior clients
of AAA 1-B living in Oakland
County. It is the result of un-
precendent collaboration bet-
ween the Max M. Fisher
Jewish Community Founda-
tion, which provided the
grant money, and the AAA
1-B, which set up and ad-
ministers the program.
SPARCers act as both



A government agency,

a Jewish foundation
and volunteers
have combined
to reduce senior isolation.


Special to The Jewish News

friendly conversation-makers
and as liaisons between the
clients and the agency nurses
and social workers who also
make the rounds among the
senior citizens.
For Schiff and other
SPARCers — there are some
two dozen in all, serving nine
clients — visiting the seniors
has given them the chance to
contribute to the community
and gain personal satisfaction
in the bargain.
"I get the real feeling I've
done a mitzvah," says
volunteer Lil Langer of her
visits to fellow Southfielders
Philip and Yetta Kay. Besides,
the Kays "happen to be ex-
tremely opinionated, and fun
to talk to."
The feeling is mutual:
"She's a very nice person,"
Philip Kay says of Langer.
"When we talk about what
happened in Detroit in the old
days, she's interested in what
I bring up. We never run out
of things to talk about."
In such everyday exchanges
lies the secret of SPARC's suc-
cess, says Nondi Orazi, the
agency's director of Com-
munity Care Management.
"Our volunteers are trained
as advocates," Orazi explains.
"Our clients are fragile and
fairly homebound. Our own
nurses and social workers

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