RARITAN TWP., NJ – Hunterdon Care Center has named local Cadette Girl Scouts Samantha Apanovitch, Julia Artale and Mary McKenna of Girl Scout Troop #80683 as its Volunteers of the Year.

The announcement was made at the Care Center’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner last month. In front of more than 100 volunteers and staff, Administrator Robert Kovacs and Activities Director JoAnn Riesz presented the girls with certificates and an engraved plaque for their Silver Award Project: Teaching Technology to Senior Residents.

“The residents and patients of Hunterdon Care Center are very fortunate and appreciative to have such a wide array of talented and compassionate volunteers who share many different talents and treasures with love and compassion logging in many hours throughout the year,” Kovacs said. “The many hours that are put in by our army of talented volunteers at Hunterdon Care Center are always repaid in smiles by Hunterdon Care Center’s residents and patients.

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“I am very impressed with this years’ recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award. These young ladies demonstrated poise, compassion and knowledge far exceeding their years. I look forward to what new and exciting ideas these young ladies will offer in the future,” said Kovacs.

The Flemington Girl Scouts are all 8th graders at J.P. Case Middle School and chose the Hunterdon Care Center to accomplish their Silver Award, the highest award a Cadette Scout can earn. For their Silver Award project they have implemented a new technology program whereby they teach and provide technology to senior residents at the facility.

The girls started working on their project last fall and felt strongly about helping seniors use today’s technologies to keep in touch with their loved ones.

Many seniors begin to feel isolated from their families when living in a nursing home. Often family members live far away and can only visit infrequently. Many times, seniors aren’t able to see their close family, friends, or grandchildren because of busy schedules. Being able to video chat with them is a great way to not only talk to loved ones, but to actually see them in real time.

These newer technologies and applications, such as Skype, Facetime and Google Hangout, can be very intimidating to seniors who did not grow up using computers and cell phones. The girls believe that teaching seniors how to operate these devices and applications will be extremely beneficial to their overall well-being.

In addition to giving one-on-one lessons to staff and residents on how to use the devices and place video calls, the girls held a fundraiser to raise money to purchase devices, asked the local community and technology manufacturers and retailers for donations, and created easy-to-read, large print instruction manuals for each technology and device for the residents and staff to refer to.

So far the girls have acquired five devices that were donated to the facility; a Chromebook, a Chromebase computer and three iPads. They will continue to provide lessons to the residents and their family members through 2018. If you would like to donate a device, old or new, or have any questions, please email Linda Artale.

Hunterdon Care Center is always looking for additional volunteers. If you have a talent or treasure you would like to share, please email the Care Center.