Echeverry Reaches Out to Bellingham Seniors
Jan 29, 2019 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Paola Echeverry came aboard at the Bellingham Senior Center last month to assist in the center’s ongoing efforts to identify seniors in need and make sure they know about available services and benefits.
A native of Colombia and fluent Spanish-speaker, Paola came to the U.S. in 2001, eventually settling in Massachusetts with an intention to “further my education. I fell in love with Bellingham and met my future husband here,” recalls Paola. And further her education she did--she holds a master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester.
Here’s how Bellingham’s Council on Aging describes Outreach: Outreach is helping the town’s older citizens remain safely in their homes with independence and promoting their health and well-being. It is also a goal of the Outreach program to acquaint our elders with information that can broaden their knowledge of seniors’ issues and assist them in making informed decisions about the critical areas of their personal lives.
For Paola, there is an additional message for seniors: “You are not alone.” She learned this from her grandparents in Colombia. “They changed my life. They guided me and supported me. I felt the tremendous, transformative power these elders had in my life.”
Part of Paola’s passion for her work is to make sure local seniors know that they, too, have the power to transform. “We’re here to help our seniors access community services they need,” she continues. “We are also here to help them find an activity or two where their talents and strengths shine. To remind them that life is still giving them amazing opportunities, no matter how old they are.”
Outreach also serves caregivers, and Paola’s message to them is the same: “You are not alone.”
Paola has been in Bellingham for seven years, during which time, she has been a full-time mom caring for her daughter Luciana, while obtaining a master’s degree and working as a university research assistant and grants manager and writer.
Introduce yourself to Paola by calling the senior center (508-966-0398) or emailing her at [email protected].