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FOR RELEASE: December 29, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

January 2004 Training Slated for Caring Hearts Nursing Home Volunteers

Growing old can be difficult even under the best of conditions. Caring Hearts of Oklahoma is seeking volunteers willing to be trained to enhance the quality of life for more than 23,000 frail and elderly people in Oklahoma’s 375 nursing homes. Volunteers will provide personalized visits to nursing home residents and help with other activities.

The training will be offered on Thursday, Jan. 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and again on Friday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at University Village, 8555 South Lewis in Tulsa, located south of the CityPlex Towers.

Caring Hearts of Oklahoma program is a volunteer initiative by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) that requires volunteers to make a commitment to complete a training program, and then reach out to people with physical and mental restrictions that require 24-hour care.

“It is the health department’s intention to actively recruit, screen and train volunteers for every nursing facility in Oklahoma that wants our participation,” said Leslie Elliott, OSDH volunteer coordinator for Caring Hearts of Oklahoma. “We will also work with existing volunteer groups to support them and provide required background checks for the program,” Elliott said.

OSDH is partnering with the Burbridge Foundation to encourage more people to come forward and volunteer for the Caring Hearts of Oklahoma program. Volunteers do more than just visit nursing home residents, they can help with games, read, write, send mail and decorate for the holidays.

“We hope programs like this one will encourage other foundations and local businesses to find ways they can help improve the quality of life for nursing home residents in their communities,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

Persons interested in becoming a Caring Hearts volunteer, or volunteer groups interested in participating in the training program, may contact: Leslie Elliott, volunteer coordinator for Caring Hearts, at (405) 271-6868 or e-mail lesliee@health.state.ok.us .

For additional information or to get an application form, contact the Tulsa Volunteer Center at (918) 585-5551.

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