BY BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
An Open Letter to New Mexico
My name is Bernadette Lauritzen and I am the Executive Director of the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization. This month, we will celebrate 25 years, providing services to the Betty Ehart and White Rock Senior Centers.
While I certainly don’t speak for all senior centers, I implore the residents of New Mexico, that know, use or value their senior centers to call or email your legislators and ask them to support all senior centers, during this session.
Senior centers have been assisting our community elders throughout the pandemic for 34 months, pivoting and offering services, like never before. What was supposed to be, “a three week pause,” in our lives has turned into a never-ending battle with Covid, staffing shortages and perseverance, while trying to meet the needs of our nation’s treasures.
While we wish to be able to do even more, we try to increase our membership, fundraise, deal with rising prices of gas, food, and funds to maintain, hire and pay staff a salary they deserve. MANY centers have employees playing multiple roles, perhaps never doing the job they were hired for and providing things, not in their job descriptions.
We have met the needs of seniors and lost many to Covid, during a time when there could be no funerals. We try to boost morale of staff and members while offering drive thru vaccination opportunities (some as many as 10 events in 2 years), grab and go lunches, in-person lunches, stay up-to-date on policies, protocols and not lose our sanity in the process.
So please if you are 60 and older, join your local center, see what they have to offer, volunteer if you are bored and if you have a little extra time call or email your legislators and tell them how much we make a difference in your communities. You can visit https://nmlegis.gov/Members/Find_My_Legislator to find yours. “Take A Second, Make A Difference,” and be there for them, if they have been there for you and yours.