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B'ville Outreach Program vital to community

If there ever was a program dedicated to its community, it's the Outreach Program at Canton Woods Senior Center, which provides services of outreach and home care coordination for people 60 years of age and older.

The main goal is to develop effective ways of providing needed support to the isolated, elderly persons to help them remain independent members of the community. These services encompass many aspects, which include but are not limited to: companionship, employment, energy grants, food sources, home health care, nursing homes, prescriptions, recreation, support groups, social activities, and the list goes on and on.

The two indispensable Outreach Workers who run the program are Judy Laurange and Donna Metz, along with Ruth Troy and Joan Ferstler, director and assistant director (respectively) of Canton Woods whom Laurange and Metz speak highly of.

"We try to keep people in their own homes instead of nursing homes by accessing services available to them, like food stamps, therapies, Meals On Wheels and exercise programs," said Laurange, who has been with Outreach for 16 years.

Metz, who's been with Outreach five years in July, added, "We do home visits to help with things like filling out paperwork to those who can't read or who have dementia. They need someone to advocate for them at times."

Laurange is in charge of the Baldwinsville Express, a transportation service that takes reservations for rides and gets volunteer drivers to take seniors to the doctor, pharmacy, grocery store, Canton Woods, or wherever. The volunteers also pay for their own gas.

"These people are saints," Laurange said. "Our volunteers don't want to take money. They take them extra places and wait for them. They are amazing."

Laurange also talks about PEACE, which stands for Peoples Equal Action Community Effort. "PEACE offers help to many young people and their families who are in need," she said.

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