Photos by Amy Gee
Meet two leaders from the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Neighbor to Neighbor program: Nicole Bauer and Melissa Grimmer. They’re one of the 18 values-driven organizations that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to invest in human connection. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 15, which they will match dollar for dollar.
Match the Hive and donate today.
All About Neighbor to Neighbor
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN) works to ensure that all people are allowed to live full and abundant lives in their community. “We provide opportunities to serve our neighbors in community,” says senior director of senior corps Nicole Bauer.
“And we enable older adults to remain in their home of choice for as long as possible by engaging volunteers who provide companionship and transportation support.”
The Neighbor to Neighbor Companions program is part of that work, offering volunteer assistance with daily activities and appointments, a link to the community, and an opportunity for meaningful friendship in communities across Minnesota..
Neighbor to Neighbor program director Melissa Grimmer says “We believe that companionship helps address many social determinants of health, allowing neighbors to help neighbors live abundantly and engage in other resources available to them.”
Let’s hear from Neighbor to Neighbor
Pollen: How do you go beyond transactional relationships to build real connection and meaning in your networks?
Our staff is working directly with our partners in community, meeting and collaborating to enhance and expand services. We make intentional efforts to understand our partners’ needs, evaluate effectiveness and make adjustments as service needs evolve. We truly listen and take action!
Pollen: What’s your origin story? What brought you to this work?
Neighbor to Neighbor was started because we saw a need in the community that wasn’t being met. LSSMN has been a long-time provider of companionship services available through Senior Corps, however there were still clients who could not be served. Neighbor to Neighbor offers more flexibility for volunteers and an affordable companionship service that assists clients with social connectedness and transportation.
Pollen: What are the critical stories in your community that need to be spotlighted?
A common concern with older adults is rapid medical decline when care plans and resources are not utilized. Neighbor to Neighbor provides an affordable option to assist clients with transportation and follow through, reducing the need for emergency care and keeping them engaged in their local communities.
Pollen: How can people find a greater sense of community?
We are all unique individuals with diverse interests and needs.
Volunteers tell us that they give as much as they get when serving!
Pollen: Why do you value being part of the Pollen community?
LSSMN pursues innovation and strives to serve all members in community. We value having connections with other organizations who also strive for social change and are working alongside us in community.
Join Nicole and Melissa: DONATE TO MATCH THE HIVE TODAY