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Bringing smiles to seniors one visit at a time.

Miles of Smiles

Miles of Smiles is our quarterly newsletter, containing recent milestones, updates and stories about our organization and members. Click "expand" on the preview to read! 

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 Valentine's Day 2016

On Valentine’s Day this year, February 14, 2016, there was a Valentine’s Day Ball at The Watermark at Beverly Hills. There was a cover band playing many popular hits such as “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by Everly Brothers. A dance floor was set up for everyone to dance on. There was a table filled with delicious sweets including red velvet cakes and chocolate-covered strawberries. In addition to the high turnout of seniors, many volunteers from Senior Smiles showed up. Everyone had fun hanging out, talking, and dancing with each other. On a sweet and fun-filled day, it was an unforgettable event for all our seniors and volunteers.

    • Valentine's Day 2016

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Now Accepting 2016-17 Internship Applications

Interested in a career in nonprofit industry, gerontology, or the health field? Or maybe you just want to be more involved in volunteering, community service, and leadership? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, the Senior Smiles Internship Program may be right for you.


We are looking for a group of creative, motivated, bighearted, and responsible individuals to strengthen old projects and develop new initiatives at Senior Smiles. Learn more here.

The deadline is November 6th, 2016. We encourage you to apply earlier if possible. 


Now-Accepting-2016-17-Internship-Applications

Interested in a career in nonprofit industry, gerontology, or the health field? Or maybe you just want to be more involved in volunteering, community service, and leadership? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, the Senior Smiles Internship Program may be right for you.


We are looking for a group of creative, motivated, bighearted, and responsible individuals to strengthen old projects and develop new initiatives at Senior Smiles. Learn more here.

The deadline is November 6th, 2016. We encourage you to apply earlier if possible. 


Now Accepting 2015-2016 Internship Applications

Interested in a career in nonprofit industry, gerontology, or the health field? Or maybe you just want to be more involved in volunteering, community service, and leadership? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, the Senior Smiles Internship Program may be right for you.


We are looking for a group of creative, motivated, bighearted, and responsible individuals to strengthen old projects and develop new initiatives at Senior Smiles. Learn more here.

The deadline is November 1st, 2015. We encourage you to apply earlier if possible. 


Now Accepting Winter/Spring 2015 Internship Applications

Interested in a career in nonprofit industry, gerontology, or the health field? Or maybe you just want to be more involved in volunteering, community service, and leadership? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, the Senior Smiles Internship Program may be right for you.


We are looking for a group of creative, motivated, bighearted, and responsible individuals to strengthen old projects and develop new initiatives at Senior Smiles. Learn more here.

The deadline is December 14, 2014. We encourage you to apply earlier if possible. 


Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Lee

    • karen wong lee

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Karen Wong Lee is a nurse at the LA County General Hospital. She enjoys fashion, food, and reality TV shows, as well as spending time with friends whenever she can.  

Karen is one of Senior Smiles' most dependable, responsible, and caring volunteers. Directors realized this early on and asked her to become a Volunteer Coordinator for the Torrance location. For almost two years, she has been giving her time to both residents at senior communities and volunteers of our organization. She has not only brought smiles to seniors, but has also been a support for volunteers to do their good work.

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When did you begin volunteering for Senior Smiles and why did you join?
I started in about November or December of 2010. I wanted to just be more involved in the community and do something good. I wanted some volunteer work, and I found Senior Smiles on volunteermatch.com. It just seemed like exactly what I was looking for. Also, the location was very important for me. The Torrance location makes it very convenient for me to volunteer. 

I wanted to try Senior Smiles because sometimes as a nurse we get overwhelmed with the stress at work, and we don't always have the time to be emotionally there for the patient. We always have tasks to take care of so I wanted to volunteer to help patients in a different way, to be there for a patient as a friend.


What motivates you to remain such an active member?
When I first started, I met a resident named Karl and we became great friends. It felt like he was an old family friend. I would even see him more than some of my own friends. I think my relationship with him helped me stay committed now, because he was very appreciative for the time that I took to see him. My visits made him thankful and it was nice to be appreciated. Sometimes, people forget to appreciate people.


Do you feel you have learned or gained anything of value by volunteering with Senior Smiles?
Because of sickness, Karl was stuck inside the nursing home. He couldn't get out much. Residents often get frustrated because they lose their independence and they have to rely on the staff for daily activities. Just watching him get frustrated reminded me to be patient with my own patients at work as a nurse. It's not fun losing independence and to be stuck anywhere. We should have empathy for them. The experience also made me appreciate what i have in my own life.


What do you feel is most rewarding about your position as Volunteer Coordinator and why did you become interested in the position?
Being a Volunteer Coordinator gave me the opportunity to meet new people and to see that there are people out there who want to help and be involved in the community by doing volunteer work. It was very refreshing, because I think people these days in this society are so preoccupied with materialist things. I feel that sometimes people have become very selfish.  It is very refreshing to see people that want to give their time to make others happy, especially when I see young teenagers who want to volunteer.
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A few weeks before this interview, Karl passed away from cancer but the memory of him continues to inspire volunteers like Karen. She in turn continues to be a friend to others and, with her work as a Volunteer Coordinator, Karen forms meaningful bonds between volunteers and seniors. Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles is very grateful to have Karen as a part of our organization.

To become a volunteer leader like Karen, the first step is to become a volunteer. Get started here.

Tags: volunteer