cardinal ritter senior services

Volunteering with Honor Flight is highlight for DB student

Wil Heimberger dressed as a World War II-era soldier at a recent Honor Flight homecoming in front of a display with memorabilia he brought. The Bishop DuBourg High School student volunteers with the Honor Flight organization.

Bishop DuBourg High School has an authority on an important era in U.S. history — World War II — although Wil Heimberger isn't a teacher or a visitor from that era.

Heimberger is a student who's taken his interest beyond a hobby to volunteer at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services' Mother of Perpetual Help assisted living and the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.

Foster Grandparent Program fills a gap for children, seniors

Sid Hastings

Foster Grandparent Frank Weeden, right, helped a University City Children’s Center student put on his coat before going outside to play at the center in University City Oct. 28. The Foster Grandparent Program administered by Cardinal Ritter Senior Services puts volunteers at the center in University City and at other sites in the St. Louis area.

The pre-school teacher gave the little boy his coat, and he immediately ran to "Grandpa Frank" for assistance.

In another classroom at the University City Children's Center, a girl sat on the lap of "Grandma Ann" listening intently as the volunteer read a book to her.

The early learning center serves children from six weeks to 6 years old. The volunteers are from the Foster Grandparent Program operated by Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, a Catholic Charities agency providing a continuum of care to senior adults throughout the archdiocese.

Cardinal Ritter keeps older adults active in mind, spirit

Joe Kuszaj, who will be 97 on Nov. 14, plans to continue his morning ritual of exercising on each “vehicle” in the Our Lady of Life physical therapy room. For 38 years after he retired, Kuszaj volunteered at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. “I was working with the kids playing soccer, baseball, you name it,” he said. “Those children were my lifeline.” In the background, Doris Chouner worked with physical therapist Andrea Holliday.

Joe Kuszaj hopped on the exercise bike, and off he went, later putting the other exercise machines at Our Lady of Life Apartments to use as well.

It's a daily routine, and he pointed to Andrea Holliday, a physical therapist with Premiere Home Heath for keeping him motivated. "She makes sure I do it," Kuszaj said.

Laptops help residents connect to far-flung places

Jane Hrach, center, laughed as Ann Jones logged her on to a laptop in her first computer class at Our Lady of Life Apartments. Hrach and Dolores Hitch, far left, took the class to learn how to better use computers. The class is just one aspect of Our Lady of Life, which also promotes volunteerism among residents.

Carmella Swann was eager to get started on one of the laptops brought into the conference room at Our Lady of Life Apartments in Shrewsbury.

Ann Jones, the administrator of the Cardinal Ritter Senior Services apartments, had brought the laptops to a computer class there. While waiting for the instructor to arrive, Swann — who has experience with computers but has a desire to learn more — found the start button and soon was getting on to her email account.

Apartment residents affected by Ferguson unrest

Lisa Johnston | | twitter: @aeternusphoto

Willie Mae Keel, a resident at St. John Neumann Apartments operated by Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, talked with building manager Cindy Asher after she received her daily Tootsie Roll treat from Asher. The senior apartment complex in Jennings is across the street from the command center set up by the Missouri Highway Patrol and St. Louis County Police during the Ferguson unrest.

The unrest in Ferguson has altered the residents' routines at senior apartments not far from the police command center and protests.

Street closings prevent them from shopping and keep relatives away. Residents spend more time indoors, especially at night, and blinds on the first floor are closed. A security guard is working extra hours. Residents complain of noise of sirens and booms from smoke and tear-gas grenades.

HUD partnership called a plus for communities

Imelda Benden volunteers at the Cardinal Ritter Senior Services gift shop at Mother of Perpetual Help assisted living residence. She talked with Rosalie Sala, who had just moved into the facility and was on a tour with her family.

Imelda Benden had been living in Montana, but earlier had resided in Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in south St. Louis. She was familiar with Shrewsbury and the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary grounds where her children had played soccer.

Coming back to St. Louis, she put in an application at Holy Infant Apartments in Shrewsbury and moved in when a unit became available. Holy Infant is an affordable housing senior facility with access to all services provided by Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, including social services and a regular program of health maintenance.

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