Margaret “Peggy” Sanchez was recently chosen as Hawaii’s Senior Hero, a dedicated volunteer that is utilizing her golden years to give back to the community. Home Instead Senior Care decided to recognize the hard work and impact that seniors make in their neighborhoods. The winner will receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of his or her choice. They received more than 1,500 entries through the US and Canada. The average age of the nominees was 76 and the oldest was 106 years old.
As one of 50 state winners, Sanches, 68, earned a spot in the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame on the SalutetoSeniorService.com website, where her nomination story has been posted. As a state winner, Sanches is now considered for the national Salute to Senior Service award.
It was Sanches’ dedication to the senior-citizen volunteer mentor for Kupuna and Keiki Together, Giving Back’s Brain Gym Intergenerational Mentoring Program (IMP), that won the attention of the judges. Brain Gym IMP pairs senior citizens trained in educational kinesiology with school children in need of special help with school work. The pairs work together on Brain Gym exercises during weekly sessions over the course of the school year.
In her role as a mentor at IMP, Sanches works with three children. Through her assistance, her children have experienced significant increases in interpersonal strengths and reading skills, decreases in problem behaviors and hyperactivity and improvement in self-esteem.
“Margaret is a valued member of the community and a senior hero to many,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Huber of Home Instead, Inc. “She has shown that volunteer opportunities for older adults should not diminish because of age. Seniors such as Margaret are making important contributions to their communities through charities, nonprofit organizations and faith communities.”
The national award was presented to Clark Paradise of Lakewood, NJ, who was honored for his work with Your Grandmother’s Cupboard, a nonprofit organization that he and his wife founded to meet the needs of the thousands of homeless families throughout New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania.
For more information about the Brain Gym IMP, please visit the Giving Back website at: www.givingbackmentoring.org