Non-profit Spotlight: VISTE
Imagine your parent living far away from you without transportation and struggling financially. Imagine your grandparent living alone after so many years of living with a spouse, feeling lonely and without a purpose. Imagine for a moment yourself in either of those situations.
Now imagine an organization that provides transportation to the elderly without charge – to the doctor, the grocery store, the dentist. Imagine a place that provides hot meals or commodity boxes to individuals aged 70 and older who need the extra food to supplement what they can afford on the income they have.
Or imagine an organization that has volunteers who place weekly reassurance calls to those who might be lonely, just to make certain they are doing okay. Or one that invites the elderly to come to the offices to volunteer and to socialize with other individuals, to feel important and needed.
The mission of VISTE (Volunteers In Service To the Elderly) is to assist the elderly in remaining safe and independent in their own homes. VISTE serves nearly 4,000 clients in Lakeland, Bartow, Ft. Meade, and Mulberry with the assistance of more than 1,000 volunteers.
Transportation is the primary service offered, but so many other services are also included in the whole person approach that VISTE takes. “We know that helping seniors age in place is about more than just transporting them from one place to another,” says Alice O’Reilly, VISTE president. “At VISTE, we are looking to meet the needs of the whole person.”
VISTE Volunteer Coordinator, Ashley Miller, works with individuals, foundations and organizations that volunteer with VISTE to see that the organization’s programs are successful. “We really are exactly what our name implies. We are volunteers helping the elderly. Volunteers are the lifeblood of what we do, and we encourage everyone to consider how they can help.”
Miller explains that help can come in various forms for VISTE. Volunteers are always needed, donors can contribute needed funding, and donors can contribute items to be used in the commodity boxes.
VISTE’s main fundraiser each year is VISTEBall, which is held in February and has a golf theme. Sponsors donate prizes, silent and live auction items, and tickets are sold to the event. As always, volunteers run the games and serve the dinner.
“There are so very many ways that people can be involved,” Miller says. “I encourage anyone who is interested in becoming involved with VISTE to get in touch with us.”
Volunteer applications are available on the VISTE website, Viste.org, and information on upcoming volunteer orientations are also listed on the website. VISTE headquarters can be reached by calling 863-284-0828.
Imagine yourself making a difference in someone’s life. VISTE is doing just that. VISTE is changing lives in Polk County.