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Connecting Residents for Hope

August 10, 2016

Carolyn HathawayWhen it comes to lending a helping hand, Carolyn Hathaway is the person you want by your side.

Carolyn and her husband, Jim, moved to Emerald Heights in early 2012 after learning about the community from their good friends and Emerald Heights’ residents, Peter and Helen Ernst.

Choosing a retirement residence was a tough decision for the Hathaways. After a thorough search of Seattle and visiting several other communities, Jim and Carolyn found Emerald Heights to be their top choice.

The Hathaways knew they did not want to live in a place where they felt confined or lacked a sense of natural environment. “We didn’t want to live in a high-rise in downtown Seattle, where we would have no lawn or landscaping. At Emerald Heights, we have beautiful landscaping and it feels more ‘homelike’ because of our beautiful surroundings.”

Carolyn enjoys the fitness classes Emerald Heights has to offer as well as the games, her favorite being ping pong. “We are having a tournament this year. I came in second last year and am hoping to win this year!” she said with a hint jovial competitiveness.

Carolyn also is part of Emerald Heights’ book club and enjoys working part-time in the Thrift Shop. All of the shop’s proceeds go to the Benevolence Fund, a program Carolyn is more than happy to support.

With so many activities to participate in at Emerald Heights, Carolyn felt inspired to do more. “You could spend your entire life here without having to leave,” she said.  “It’s like living on a cruise ship. Our needs are met and then some.  It was important to me to reach out to the community and find a way to contribute.”

Carolyn found out about Hopelink, a community action agency serving homeless and low-income families, through former co-chairs Ellie Lindblom and Jean Slonecker. The pair asked her if she was interested and she happily said yes.

“Ellie mentored me for a year, then she passed the baton and I took it on from there,” she explained. In 2015, Carolyn worked with Ellie as co-chair for her first “End Summer Hunger” event.  On June 10, Carolyn and her new co-chair, Trudy Vering, led the “End Summer Hunger” event, rallying together a group of volunteers from Emerald Heights to help.

“End Summer Hunger is an effort to provide food for children who normally have their lunch provided by their school.” Carolyn explained that because of summer vacation, several children won’t have school lunches to sustain them. “We don’t know how many meals these children get during the day so the idea was to make sure there would be food available from Hopelink food bank for the families that need help.”

The event was nothing short of a major success. In total, Carolyn and the group collected $6,227 in cash donations and 1,534 pounds of food. Carolyn takes satisfaction in knowing she is making a difference in the lives of others. Residents enjoy working together for this worthy cause.”

In addition to “End Summer Hunger,” Carolyn partners with Hopelink for an event during Christmas. “In November, we hold a ‘Treats for Toys Event,” she said. The event is designed to encourage people to buy and donate unwrapped Christmas gifts that are then donated to children in need. “We also hold an ice cream social to say thank you to the people donating gifts.”

Carolyn is very happy with her life at Emerald Heights and the connections she has made through her volunteerism. “It’s a wonderful place to live,” she said.  She finds comfort in knowing different levels of care are available from independent living to skilled nursing.