One thing we know for certain in this community is that we are an aging population. As we grow older our needs grow larger for services like home health care, transportation, medical, and case management, to name a few. The current system to provide these services is a complicated combination of county funding and philanthropy with staff members employed by multiple authorities and a shared ownership of the building.

Fortunately, there are some great minds working together to create a shared vision for the future. The Orcas Senior Center Operations Committee, under the leadership of Bonnie Burg, recently completed an extensive survey (funded by an OICF Community grant) to gauge community needs and expectation.  They have also convened a Strategic Planning session with their Board and other key stakeholders to develop a work plan to bring a common vision to life (facilitated by OICF Board member Diane Berreth). In addition, generous donors stepped in with a $50,000 challenge grant, which was matched by the community, to support services as they are ready to expand.

Working together, with a variety of tools and a common vision, the Senior Center will be ready with increased capacity just when we need them the most. It is a great story of community collaboration.

If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, Hearts and Hands (H&H), the home companion program at the Orcas Senior Center, is seeking additional volunteers to provide companionship, assistance with light chores in house and yard, errands, and social opportunities. To find out more about Hearts and Hands and different ways you can support this island community service, please contact Tom Eversole at (360) 370-0562 or by email at:

Finally, I hope you are going to attend the Grilled Cheese Contest on February 14 at the School Cafeteria. I am up against some stiff competition and would love your support to become the ‘Queen of the Grill.’ Plus it is a great benefit for OIEF. More information about this event is available.