While residents at the CountrySide Lakes Shepherd senior living community love to shop, play games, golf and partake in “happy” hour, their hearts lie with community service, with projects and fundraisers taking place year round.

Residents at the CountrySide Lakes Shepherd senior living community love to shop, play games, golf and partake in “happy” hour, but the most important activities in which they engage are the ones where they support the people in their Community.

Hydrate-a-Hero is their current community project. Residents and businesses can drop off cases of water during May that will be given to Port Orange’s first responders to help them stay hydrated in severe hot weather.

Last year, residents collected over 800 cases of water. This year, their goal is 1,000.

The Center is sponsoring their second-annual Family Fun Day from 1-4 p.m on Saturday, June 1, where entry to the event is one case of water per adult. The event will feature face painting, a petting zoo, games, balloon art, music by a DJ and a free hot dog lunch.

Life Engagement Director Stephanie Lynch said that seniors raised over $500 for the Southeast Volusia County Humane Society, and that is just the beginning of the community work they have done. The seniors have dedicated the year to a group call Cuda’s Unhooked. It is a nonprofit charity dedicated to helping at-risk and homeless teen students in New Smyrna Beach.

Cuda’s Unhooked provides guidance on personal development, mentoring, housing and helps students graduate from high school.  Each month, a different fundraiser is conducted to donate funds to help the students.

For January, a Chili Cookoff raised $300. March produced $396 to send the students and their mentors to a baseball game at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Daytona Beach. In April, $400 was sent to the group to send students to dinner and prom. The senior center turned their community bus into a prom party bus and Lynch took students to dinner, prom and back home.

During the summer, the seniors are having a garage sale to collect money for school and personal supplies for students to begin the new school year.

February had a different focus. Seniors collected 613 teddy bears and donated them to the Port Orange Police Department, Daytona Beach Police Department, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department to help children in crisis.

Seniors at the center also have input into what activities are presented. Resident Bob Solomon is a golf enthusiast who wants to give golf lessons and start a putting tournament with residents in other senior living facilities. The Center turned an unused shuffle board court into a putting green. Solomon actively supervised the installation of the new green.

by: Tanya Russo
Staff Writer at the Port Orange Observer