Maggie Klein wins volunteer of the year

Maggie Klein, Former Journalist & Publisher, Named ‘Volunteer of the Year’

September 24

Klein keeps seniors at Willow Towers engaged and connected to the world

For the past three years, Maggie Klein has led lively and thought-provoking discussions on current events with a passionate group of residents at Willow Towers Assisted Living, part of the United Hebrew of New Rochelle campus. The veteran journalist and retired news publisher facilitates the senior living community’s popular Current Events Group, which meets twice per week for conversations about local and global happenings.

Klein spends countless hours collecting news items as well as researching in-depth issues of particular interest to the residents. Recently, she prepared an overview of the U.S. Electoral College for analysis and discussion with the group, whose members are well-read, retired professionals from education, the law, business, and other fields.

“We discuss the news in politics, locally and nationally, but also news of everyday life, climate, and science,” she explained. “We also talk about the world and what’s happening in Venezuela, Israel, Syria, Turkey or Belarus. We agree, we disagree, we laugh! My Current Events Group keeps me 80 years young.”

For her service, Klein was awarded the 2020 NYSCAL Volunteer of the Year award from the New York State Health Facilities Association/New York State Center for Assisted Living, a leading long-term care industry group. The program recognizes outstanding volunteers serving in adult care/assisted living facilities.

“I am honored to receive this award, but am more grateful for the opportunity to be with the residents at Willow Towers,” said Klein, whose vast experience in the news business includes seven years with The Associated Press, 20 years with Reuters, and 27 years as publisher of Westchester’s The Pelham Weekly/The Pelham Plus.

Members say her group is the best part of their week, according to Dr. Nora O’Brien, executive director of Willow Towers Assisted Living and Willow Gardens Memory Care.

“Maggie’s commitment and dedication to our residents is greatly appreciated,” she said. “Her volunteerism is truly exemplary and deserving of this prestigious award from NYSHFA/NYSCAL.”

Klein’s work keeps residents engaged with the world around them, which is vitally important for seniors as they age, notes O’Brien.

“Research shows that social isolation and loneliness can have a significant negative impact on our health. So, we do all we can to help our residents maintain social connections and learn new things, which has been shown to improve brain health and promote well-being. We’re grateful for Maggie’s contributions in this area.”