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Relationships Inspire One Supporter's Deeper Involvement

Philanthropy powers innovative care for seniors.

Deanna and Sidney WolkEvery Thursday morning, you can find Deanna Wolk at a table in a sunny corner of Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC) in Boston. For about five years, Deanna has volunteered with patients, teaching and playing mahjong.

"I enjoy interacting with the patients and I know they have a good time playing," Deanna said. "It's something we all look forward to. When I leave, I feel good about the experience we had together."

Deanna recalls Sundays as a child at her grandmother’s, when her aunt would bring a donation box for the place that was then called Hebrew Home for Aged. “Hebrew SeniorLife is an organization that was just always there, even in my childhood,” Deanna remembered. The same aunt was later cared for HRC.

Deanna and her husband, Sidney, have supported Hebrew SeniorLife since the mid-1980s. In 2007, Deanna joined the board of the Women’s Auxiliary, now called the Friends of Hebrew SeniorLife. “It wasn’t enough for me to be on the board,” said Deanna regarding her motivation for regular volunteering.

“I want to feel involved and have a relationship with the people who are impacted.”

Deanna and Sidney recently made a gift to support HSL ’s new hospice program, which will began on a small scale in 2013 and will be expanded in 2014. “I’ve been a proponent of hospice for a long time,” explained Deanna. “The fact that HSL ’s hospice program will be based in Jewish values is very important to me, and I think it’s something that’s needed in the community.”

She added, "All people, no matter what age, deserve respect and dignity. HSL is discovering more about how to give people quality of life as they age. I believe strongly that we should honor our elders. Hospice is a part of that value system and should be an important aspect of the aging process."