East Bay Volunteer Opportunities: Tele-Care Celebrates 43 Years of Touching and Saving Lives
Posted on Feb 15, 2013
For more than 40 years, dedicated groups of volunteers through Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Tele-Care Program have reached out to members of the San Francisco East Bay Area who live alone, are isolated, home-bound, disabled, convalescing from an illness or in need of a caring, friendly voice.
Berkeley gathering to celebrate volunteers and their clients
On Wednesday, Feb. 20, volunteer workers, their clients and members of the community will gather at His Lordship’s Restaurant in Berkeley, to celebrate 43 years of relationships (some life affirming and life saving) and bonds of caring–all made and nurtured over the telephone. This free community service was started in 1970. Tele-Care statistics include:
- Volunteers call more than 300 people every day (365 days a year)
- Calls are made to communities in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties
- There are currently 35 volunteer with another 10-15 serving as occasional support
- There are currently as many as 10,000 calls made every month
- Volunteers placing the calls range in age from 23-92
- There is no charge for this community service
- We have two volunteers who have been with us over 40 years!
Clients have ranged in age from 37-111. Born in 1901, our oldest client is 111 years old and lives in Oakland. A member of Tele-Care since 2000, she lives on her own with a part-time caregiver (her daughter lives on a separate floor). She answers her phone every day to speak with her longtime friends. When asked for her secret to aging so gracefully, she replied, “Be happy.” The youngest client, also an Oakland resident, is 68 years old.
Extending volunteer opportunities throughout Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties
Every day, teams of Tele-Care volunteers make hundreds of phone calls to members of the community who have signed up for this unique, free service. Check-in calls are made 365 days a year to over 300 individuals in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. “Our clients depend on hearing from us, and it’s proven to be a life-saving service in a number of instances,” says Sabra Leaned, manager of the Tele-Care Program.
Several situations have literally saved the life of a Tele-Care client. If a Tele-Care volunteer cannot reach the client, an alternate number is called. Often this is a friend, a neighbor or a relative. In the event the alternate is unavailable, emergency services are called.
“At least 25 times every year we find that one of our clients has fallen, had a stroke or heart attack and without this daily check-in and the ability to alert emergency services, they may not have survived,” Learned said.
Oakland’s Alta Bates Summit giving back to the East Bay community
The Tele-Care Program is a free community service of Oakland’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and available to residents of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. Telephone volunteers stay connected to others in the East Bay while giving back to their community.
Tele-Care has received national and local recognition and funding from groups such as: American Hospital Association, National Volunteer Awards, MacEachern Award, JC Penney Golden Rule Award for Alameda and Contra Costa counties and George H. Sandy Foundation.
Take advantage of volunteer opportunities in your area. Anyone can enroll in Tele-Care by phoning their offices, Monday-Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at 510-204-4487.