A year and five months after the idea was first broached, on July 5, 2016, South Whidbey at Home will open its office doors and get on with the work of helping support South Whidbey residents in being able to stay in their own homes and community as they age. Volunteers have been trained, background checks have been run, procedures have been devised, and those full members getting volunteer services are being interviewed as to their wants and needs.
“We’ve been heading for this destination for so long—sometimes through clear weather and sometimes through haze—that it’s exciting to finally get there,” says SW@Home board president Lynn Willeford. “And it wouldn’t have happened without some key donations for start-up costs and a lot of hard work from the board and the three dozen planning volunteers who forged ahead even when the way was uncertain.” Members of the SW@Home board include Allan Ament, Sharon Emerson, Marcia Wiley, Paul Goldfinger, and Miriam Raabe.
In the interest of a “soft” opening, the SW@Home office will be open only from 9:00-12:00 Tuesday through Friday that first week in July as call managers continue to enter data, make phone calls to all vetted volunteers, and become more familiar with some sophisticated software. “It’s a very complicated program,” says Sharon Emerson, who has been handling technology, “but it’s been customized specifically for programs like ours based on the Village model, and their tech support is awesome.”
Regular office hours of 9:00-5:00 Monday through Friday will begin the week of July 11th. Full members can call the SW@Home office number—(360) 331-1971—to request a service, look for a referral to one of our Trusted Businesses, or ask a question. Volunteer call managers will log the request and notify volunteers by phone, text or email when a request falls into their interest area or time availability. SW@Home will not be able to handle requests for rides until August, after all volunteer drivers have been properly vetted. Social events for full and supporting members will kick off in late July or August as well and ramp up in the fall.
“We are starting something completely new,” board member and call manager coordinator Allan Ament says, “so please be patient with us in the first few months as we refine our procedures and bring everything up to speed. Your feedback will help us evolve into the organization we always hoped we’d be.”