WHAT'S WORKING: Organization works hard to ensure elderly feel loved

During these unbearably hot summer months, checking on the elderly can be a life-saving task, but one group pledges to reach out to them year-round.

The volunteer-based organization Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly pledges to care for the elderly with one simple goal: by being a friend.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was movie time for a small group of special friends. Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly organized the trip for the nearly two dozen Cincinnati residents. The goal is to treat folks like Ms. Elizabeth Blanton, who is 83 years young, to a day out on the town.

"I try to keep it going!" Ms. Blanton laughed. "What do they say? Keep it moving!"

On Tuesday, it is was all about treating the group of elderly to lunch and then a movie. They had a choice of watching three different films at the Danbury Theater in the Cincinnati Mills Mall. Their options included: Mr. Penguin's Poppers, Hangover 2 and X Men.

"X-Man, yeah! I thought it was wonderful," said Blanton. "Except for when they were talking that Japanese talk. I didn't know what they were saying!"

In all seriousness, Ms. Blanton said the organization has saved her. She said her life before she became involved with the non-profit five years ago was completely different.

"Couldn't go nowhere," said Blaton. "Didn't have no car. I couldn't drive. Couldn't get nobody to pick me up so the Little Brothers were just what I needed."

Executive Director Yogi Wess said that's what the organization is all about-- relieving isolation and loneliness.

"We exist to kind of fill that need," said Wess. "To fill that void in somebody's life. That need for friendship. That need for a belonging group. A community that they can feel that they're wanted, needed and loved."

Wess said they have several summer outings, taking the elderly to various events and locations they normally wouldn't have the opportunity to visit. This summer the group is excited to check out the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.

The Cincinnati organization has six special events throughout the year, geared toward raising money for Little Brothers. The 14th Annual Tom Wess Memorial Golf Outing will be held on September 10th at the Glenview Golf Course. It's one of just a few events the organization depends on to keep it up and running.

But Wess said the Little Brothers also can't work without all of their volunteers.

Laurie McGrail is a visiting volunteer. She's spent the last 11 years visiting her elderly friend at home and accompanying her to several outings.

"We go on the B&B Riverboat," said McGrail. "We go to the museums. We've gone to the parks and to plays and movies. We even went to a vacation place in Chicago and Amish country."

Ms. Blanton even met her husband at one of those events!

"We met up at the Senior Prom," said Blanton. "We've been together ever since!"

Proving the method the Little Brothers uses to connect the caring with those who need a little care is what's working for all involved.

For more information on how you can help, check out the organization's website: http://cincinnati.littlebrothers.org/

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