Hi my peeps, I would like to tell you about a great organization in Marin county by the name of LITA.
LITA stands for Love is the Answer and indeed, it is.
The organization was founded in 1975 by Mae Wygant, a wonderful lady who cared deeply about the needs of elderly people. The mission of LITA is to improve the quality of life for people living in retirement homes, residential care facilities, and nursing homes by providing volunteer visitors. They offer several different programs, suited for volunteers of all age groups and including pets.
One of the programs is called One-to-One-Friends. Here the volunteers are matched with residents of different facilities for weekly visits. Another program is called Bridging Generation where elementary and middle school classes are matched with facilities for monthly visits during the school year. There is also the LITA Families program where entire families are matched with residents for weekly visits. During the holiday season they provide the Holiday Gifts for Elders program. Volunteers collect and wrap gifts for elderly people in nursing facilities or low income housing facilities who would otherwise be forgotten during the holidays. And last but not least, there is the Pet Connection program which includes the volunteer's pets during the weekly visits.
The Pet Connection is very important because when people move to nursing facilities, most of the times they have to leave their pets behind. The separation from their pets can be very devastating. I am proud to say, me and my human are part of this program. Every Tuesday afternoon we go to the Senior Villa in Novato where we visit five lovely ladies.
Before we started to visit the ladies, we went to the office of LITA and my human filled out an application. I had a bath the night before and looked real sharp. Gerrda Focardi, the director of volunteers, petted me, touched my ears and paws to make sure I am not vicious, and looked me over for cleanliness. I passed the test! We were matched with the ladies from the Senior Villa and ready to go. Since then, we have been going there every Tuesday afternoon and I get very excited when my human tells me: Lets go see the ladies! And the ladies are just as excited when I visit them.
I have a great time when I go there not just because I get a lot of treats but also because I get a lot of affection. Mio pets me a lot. She is almost 100 years young and often sings and dances. Sometimes she wears a very pretty kimono since she is from Japan and I get to sit on her lap. Omi gives me 10 treats every time. I beg for more but my human says NO. Omi is from Germany and speaks German with my human. Betty is 98 years young and is a little fragile, so I just sit next to her and let her pet me. She doesn't always remember me but we have fun anyway. Anne is in a wheelchair and doesn't move much. My human lifts me up and holds me while Anne pets me. She is really happy to see me. The other Anne can move a bit more and she pets me and gives me treats. All the ladies there used to have dogs of their own and miss them very much. When they see me, it reminds them of their dogs and they feel happy.
I am so glad that there is an organization like LITA and so many people that volunteer for it . It makes such a difference in people's lives. LITA also has a great website with lots of information on it. You can find it at http://www.litamarin.org/ . On the website you can read what LITA is all about and more about the programs they offer. You can also join a mailing list, make a donation, and become a volunteer. So, my dear friends, check it out and consider making a donation or becoming a volunteer. And make sure you tell all your friends about it.
Love and Peace,