July 2013 Non Profit Spotlight: North East Seattle Together (N.E.S.T)
It’s just a little more than one year old, but this spirited non-profit is already improving the lives of its several dozen members and many dedicated volunteers. Based on a national model, N.E.S.T. (North East Seattle Together) helps older residents remain in their homes by providing them with services such as yard work, pet care, running errands and home maintenance.
As Executive Director Judy Kinney explains, “We fill in gaps.”
Many older residents want to continue to live in their own homes as long as possible, but need help with both simple tasks, such as changing a light bulb and mowing the lawn, as well as help navigating more complicated home maintenance, including having a roof replaced or plumbing repairs made.
A network of volunteers provides these services themselves or guide members through finding qualified professionals. Members pay an annual fee of $600 for an individual or $900 for two people for an unlimited amount of support.
Already with more than 60 members in the area of Seattle bordered by Interstate 5, the Ship Canal, Lake Washington and N.E. 110th/N.E. Northgate Way, N.E.S.T. is also providing educational and social opportunities to ensure older residents stay connected. Monthly presentations on relevant topics, book clubs, caregiver support groups, potlucks and outings to see theater performances provide essential social interaction to seniors.
One of the challenges the organization encounters is helping older residents learn to accept help.
“We have these notions about aging that are false,” says Judy. “Receiving help doesn’t mean you are old and diminished.” She adds that even when you are receiving help, you are also giving back to volunteers and staff who want to connect and help.
One of the most satisfying things Judy has seen during the past year has been how easily young and old people are coming together to provide a sense of community in this corner of Seattle. A small staff with several young people and volunteers of all ages are helping older members of the community stay in their homes and stay engaged. It’s a win-win for everyone.
For more information about N.E.S.T., call (206) 525-6378 or visitwww.nestseattle.org.
Written by Linnea Westerlind 5/2013