Among Friends masthead 2016

FALL 2016

A giant step toward 

Can you imagine a neighborhood -- your neighborhood, perhaps -- where no elder feels alone? Where every elder, even those who live by themselves without family nearby, knows neighbors by name, is cared about and regularly checked in on, and trusts that someone will sprinkle salt when the front steps are icy? Where elders live in their own homes as long as possible and are fully engaged in the community?

That sounds like a utopia, or perhaps a memory of a bygone era. But this is the long-term vision of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly and we believe, with people like you, it is achievable.

Our new three-year strategic plan brings us closer to this vision. The plan introduces a model that will expand our capacity by increasing our volunteer force exponentially and enable us to serve any neighborhood in the greater Twin Cities area. The goal is lofty; it challenges us to increase the number of elders we serve in our Visiting and Advocacy program from 220 to 1,000 with 5,000 hours of social interaction per month by the end of fiscal year 2019. To achieve this goal, LBFE is moving from a staff-based program supplemented by volunteers to a volunteer-based and more fiscally efficient model.

This ambitious plan requires a shifting of paid program staff positions. We are hiring a Community Impact Director to develop, deploy and maintain a robust volunteer support program. This new director will collaborate with existing staff members, Georgia Afton and Sandy O'Donnell, as they greatly expand our volunteer and elder base. We have also made the difficult decision to say good-bye to our three excellent program managers as we turn toward this new program structure.

Our focus will be primarily on our Visiting and Advocacy program, although we will maintain our popular Friendship and Flowers program and holiday meals. However, some regular elder events, such as the monthly birthday parties, may be on hold until we can recruit and train volunteers to take on leadership roles in these areas.

With your help, we can transform our neighborhoods into communities where no elder feels alone in life, and every elder is valued and loved.
Please help us achieve our goals to 
From the Executive Director
Teaching our community to fish
James Falvey     
Executive Director
We've all heard the old adage, "Give a man a fish he's fed for a day; teach a man to fish and he's fed for a lifetime." This saying can be modified to describe the vision behind the significant changes Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is bringing forward.

Many are surprised to learn that our professional staff members have been shouldering 70% of the service delivery to our elder friends in our flagship Visiting & Advocacy program. We've pushed ourselves really hard to bring as many elders into this program as we could, but the more people we added, the fewer visits we were able to provide per elder. This limited the number of new elders brought into our program and the geographic area we serve. In essence, we have been giving our community the "fish" in the form of elder engagement, and our community has been "fed for a day" in the form of the limited number of elders served.

We knew our model had to change, and our volunteers, donors and community members reinforced this idea in the Roundtable Meetings we hosted last November. An overarching concern brought up in those meetings was the need to find a way to reach more elders, especially with the fast-growing population of Baby Boomers who are moving into the age category where our services will be needed.

The solution: Teach our community to serve. Rather than focusing staff energy on providing service directly to our elder friends, LBFE is refocusing staff resources on recruiting, training and supporting volunteers so that we transform into an organization capable of meeting the growing need of our community and the elders who benefit from our services.

I urge you to consider opportunities to serve our community and its elders through new and existing volunteer roles offered by Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly. Together we are creating a better community that will more effectively address isolation and loneliness among the elderly.

James Falvey
Executive Director

Visiting Volunteer Carolyn Trevis and her elder friend Marion know each other well, and it shows. That's what happens after two years of regular visits and phone calls. The two friends usually get together at Augustana Health Care Center where Marion lives, watching sports on TV, playing card games, bingo and cribbage. "She's good at cribbage and often beats me!" attested Carolyn. But they do get out, too, going to picnics at nearby Elliot Park, enjoying cheeseburgers at Band Box Diner and, at least one time, taking in a Twins game.

Carolyn has a knack for drawing out the details of Marion's colorful life, which is enriched by the fact that Marion's memory is long and sharp. "My first recollection is my third birthday, when I fell off a combine and hit my head on the big wheel," Marion recalled. "I was placed in a plaster of Paris cast from my belly up, with just my face showing. And I had a graham cracker cake with three candles with birds on them," she added.
Health concerns have plagued Marion for many years, who herself was a licensed practical nurse. She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in her 20s and has a shunt that diverts the excess fluid from her brain into her abdomen where it is absorbed. She also had a detached retina following cataract surgery and is now blind in her right eye.

In addition to a nursing certificate, Marion earned a degree in accounting and worked at an accounting firm for many years. She still has a desire to stay as active as possible while being confined to a wheelchair. Up until June, she assisted in Augustana's chaplaincy program, helping to set up for services. "But I'm beginning to slow down now," said the 83-year old.

Advocating for elders is a calling that's deeply rooted in Carolyn. She first became a Visiting Volunteer with LBFE in 2009 and visited two elders prior to Marion. Her devotion to her role is unparalleled, having racked up nearly 450 hours of service to LBFE elders. "I feel that I get more from the elders than I give," she said. By day, Carolyn is an attorney with the State of Minnesota in the Labor Relations department. "So I no longer practice law," she said. "Since 1998 I've represented state agencies in negotiating labor contracts."

As a professional person, Carolyn can empathize with Marion's drive to stay active and engaged. "I don't like it that I can't cross the street in my wheelchair on my own," Marion said. "She has a strong independent streak, which is why we hit it off so well," Carolyn said with a smile.

If you would like to learn how you can enrich an elder's life as a volunteer, please contact  Georgia Afton at or 612.746.0732.

Support elders in need with

Every fall, many workplaces participate in giving campaigns. These programs represent a significant source of support for Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly year-round. Giving programs come in various forms, and it's likely that your employer can help support your commitment to LBFE.

Matching gift programs are offered by nearly two-thirds of employers, including Medtronic and Thomson Reuters. These programs typically match an employee's payroll contributions dollar for dollar up to a certain amount.

Dollars for Doers programs offer grants of around $5 - $15 per volunteer hour to the organization for which the employee regularly volunteers. 3M, Allina Health and UnitedHealth Group are companies that offer these types of programs.

In addition, LBFE is enrolled with and eligible to receive funds from the following:
  • Thrivent Choice®. Thrivent Financial invites eligible members to recommend where the company distributes its charitable outreach funds through Thrivent Choice. If you are a member of Thrivent, please consider LBFE when directing Choice Dollars.
  • Community Shares of Minnesota. LBFE was recently accepted as a member of Community Shares of Minnesota, a workplace giving federation that funds social justice and arts organizations. Approximately 90 workplaces in the greater Twin Cities area, including Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools and the University of Minnesota, offer CSM as a payroll giving option. (Because we are a new member, you may need to write in LBFE on your pledge form to designate us in 2016.)
While LBFE is not currently a listed Agency Partner with the Greater Twin Cities United Way, you can still designate us to receive your contributions by writing in our name and address (Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly/MN, 1845 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407) along with the contribution amount on the pledge form.

To learn more about giving programs that may be available to you, contact your company's human resources department.
New volunteer positions will build our capacity

Whether you're an existing LBFE volunteer or just considering joining our team, you have an exciting array of opportunities to choose from. In addition to the traditional yet critical role of visiting elders, we now are offering new roles that involve leadership and organizational support.

Visiting Volunteers are matched one-on-one with elders to provide a minimum of two visits a month for one year. This is our area of greatest need, with the goal of serving 250 elders by 6/30/17. 

Check-in Visitors (new) provide companionship through short visits to elders in the Visiting and Advocacy Program who do not currently have a Visiting Volunteer. Short-term commitments can be accommodated. 

Phone Support Volunteers (new) call elders in the Visiting and Advocacy Program to offer ongoing friendship and reassurance. Calls can be made from your home following training. 

Holiday Dinner Managers (new) ensure that LBFE's tradition of offering Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinner celebrations to elders continues. Managers build and organize crews of workers, arrange rides for elders and coordinate with the venue.

Event Captains (new) organize much-loved monthly social programs, including bingo, birthday parties and Cards, Crafts and Coffee, on an ongoing basis. Event captains for each program coordinate rides for elders and plan details according to that program's needs.

Friendship and Flowers Visitors visit and deliver flowers and homemade cookies to homebound elders and nursing home residents who lack family networks on the third Saturday morning of each month.

Please consider volunteering for these opportunities!
Contact Georgia Afton, Volunteer Outreach Director, at or 612.746.0732 or log onto for more information.


VISITING VOLUNTEERS like Al Hanzal (left) make sure Don and other LBFE elder friends know that there are plenty of reasons to keep going around in life. 

We're actively looking for Visiting Volunteers, Phone Support and Check-In Visitors to provide friendship to elders. Roles such as Event Managers and Activities Drivers are also available.  

Whether you join with us as a volunteer, financial supporter or corporate partner, you can play a critical role in ending isolation and loneliness among the elderly in the Twin Cities.
Please contact us today to learn more.

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Please support LBFE's 
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to lonely seniors in the greater Twin Cities area.




Become a vibrant part of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly!


Executive Director James Falvey congratulated playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling after he entertained guests at LBFE's
Laughing at Our Age 3 on Wednesday, May 18. The event, held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, drew more than 150 people and was sponsored by Wells Fargo, AARP Minnesota, Subway, Mintáhoe Catering and Events and Allegra Printing of Arden Hills. 


Sunday, Oct. 16
Midway ProBowl
1556 University Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

Registration:12 noon
Bowling: 1 p.m.
3 games + shoes: $25

Raffle prizes, 50-50 strike pot, jello shots and tons of fun!

To register or for more information, contact
Steve Nardini at 612.209.9801 or



Friday, October 28
Lunch and presentation by the Minnesota Historical Society: "Tips for Preserving Your Own History" 

Friday, December 2
Lunch and presentation by Jones-Harrison: 
"Results from the LGBT Dementia Study"

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
LBFE, 1845 E Lake St.

Our new monthly "cafe" brings  LGBTQ boomers, seniors and allies together in friendship and acceptance. 
  • A hearty lunch
  • Scrumptious dessert
  • Great conversation
  • Information on senior and boomer LGBT services
Seating is limited: Register today!
or 612.746.0726

LET'S DO LUNCH is a joint effort 
by  LBFE and Prime Timers MSP. 

The following people we served were remembered at our May and August memorial services.

Lorraine Anderson
Cecilia Becker
Rafael Beltran
Annetta Bilderback
Clifford Christiansen
Grace Early
Barbara Faust
Eleanor Gomez
Nadine Guile
Margaret Hustad
Magdelena Janoska
Mary Lollie
Lucy Rodin
Dorothy White
Our next memorial service is Monday, November 14, 4-5 p.m. at 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis.
We encourage anyone whose life has been touched by an elder we served to attend our memorial services. Feel free to bring any photos or memories to share. Please contact Sandy O'Donnell at 612.746.0724 or
if you would like to attend.


CARE PACKAGE  Virginia was thrilled to explore all of the goodies inside her Care Package. Five Care Packages were donated to LBFE's silent auction by Glorious Hugs, then were purchased by Dick and Karen Speeter and donated to five LBFE elders.

ZOO TIME  Agnes and Gertie visited the Como Zoo with staff members. An inquisitive giraffe took photo bombing to new heights!

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