Tuesday Toolmen

January 28th 2008 11:13 am

Tuesday Toolmen is an innovative volunteer program, introduced through RSVP of Northwest Michigan in 2002, that helps low-income seniors in our community with home health and safety repairs. Since its inception the Tuesday Toolmen program has helped more than one hundred seniors with inspections and small home repairs. We presently serve Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties and plan to expand into Benzie, Antrim and Kalkaska counties in the next two years.

Our Tuesday Toolmen volunteers are connected with income eligible seniors through referrals from the Area Agency on Aging and the Grand Traverse and Leelanau Commission on Aging. An advance team is sent to eligible seniors’ homes to complete a 47-point safety inspection, answer questions, assess needs and provide information. Our Toolmen make minor repairs as needed. Among other items, our Toolmen may install grab bars or other barrier-free devices which give seniors in need improved safety and mobility in their homes. Once repairs are done, seniors are asked to complete a client satisfaction survey. We use the survey results to insure that our program is successfully meeting senior needs. An important benefit of Tuesday Toolman is that senior citizens who participate in the program are able to remain in their homes for a longer period of time thus preventing premature placement in a nursing home.

A complete definition of the program includes:

Tuesday Toolmen

Tues•day-Tool•men (also see Angels)

1: A group of skilled and generous volunteer tradesmen, making a difference working together for a common goal within their community. (The Tuesday Toolman of the small home repair program) 2: Tradesmen performing selflessness acts of kindness that benefit the greater good of seniors (mature adults) on the third day of the week. (Tuesday) 3: A camaraderie of unique individuals, enabling mature adults the dignity and safety which they deserve to feel comfortable in their own homes. (To forgo financial compensation for services, to give of their hearts and sense of humanity, rewarded by inner pleasure, doughnuts, coffee and B.S.!)

Synonyms: vigilant volunteers, / Caring Carpenters, / Helpful Handymen, / Friendly Fixers, / Builders of Hope, / Respected Repairmen, / Boys in Blue, / Team of Tradesmen, / Doers of Good, / And All Around Good Guys

Sponsorships and volunteers are being sought to provide essential funds and manpower for our Tuesday Toolmen activities in the upcoming year – 2008. Funds will be utilized to buy lumber and necessary building materials – such as grab bars – to make required repairs. They will also be utilized to cover program administrative costs such as materials for the 47 point inspections, insurance for a year, mileage for our volunteers and recognition for the Toolmen RSVP volunteers.

This successful program was modeled after a similar program in Kalamazoo sponsored by Senior Services, Inc. under the direction of Annie Morgan, BA, CAPS.

For more information on how you can join the Tuesday Toolmen call the United Way of Northwest Michigan Volunteer Center Director, Susan McQuaid at 231-947-3200 Ext. 20 or e-mail susan@unitedway.tcnet.org

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
-Albert Pike

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