Student helper for seniors, gets the summer jobs done


Sherry-Lynn Harbers says she likes working outdoors, and she likes working with seniors. So when the opportunity presented itself to return to her summer job for a second year, it wasn’t a tough decision.

Harbers, 20, is employed by the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in Williamsburg, as a helping hand to seniors living throughout South Dundas.

She quite simply, does the various summertime jobs that seniors living in their homes or apartments might have a difficult time getting done.  These summertime chores include lawn mowing, planting of beds and gardens, weeding and cleaning and minor maintenance around the home, both inside and out.

“One of the hardest things I have had to do was cut out pieces of sod and move them to an old garden area. It was a lot of work,” says Sherry of the summer job she truly loves.

“Generally, I do a lot of lawn mowing, which has been difficult to keep scheduled this year because of the rain. But, I also weed beds, wash windows and even help clean decks.”

The Leader caught up to Sherry-Lynn recently, at the home of Earl and Sheila Hummell in Morrisburg. While Sherry-Lynn was busy mowing the lawn, Sheila pointed out how valuable her help has been this summer, their first time involved with the program.

“Our riding lawn mower quit. I’ve tried to cut it, and my husband has tried but we can’t do it. It’s wonderful to have Sherry-Lynn help us out. She does just about anything you ask her to do. One day she helped me clean the deck. She has a really nice personality. She is always friendly and always smiling. We have really lucked out with this.”

The Hummells have Sherry-Lynn booked for two hours on Thursdays, and Sherry-Lynn explains that some of her seniors may have her only once all summer for a special project, some appointments are for an hour or two every couple of weeks and some are on a weekly basis.

Now preparing to head into her third year at Brock University where she is studying Recreation and Leisure, Sherry-Lynn says she hopes to work in a recreation program in a senior facility or perhaps in a sports complex setting.

She says she is quite busy and has a list of some 40 to 50 seniors she will work for over the summer. 

Clients pay an hourly rate and Sherry-Lynn is employed by the Senior Support Centre. She puts in a very full 35 hour week, and covers all of South Dundas. She is available until August 23.

In addition to the outdoor gardening work, seniors can find themselves in need of some help indoors. “I might clean their windows, or I might go into their home once a week and help them to clean out a cupboard or two. They often can’t reach the higher cupboards or lift the heavier things. Some have arthritis which prevents them from doing things.”

Seniors who are interested in having Sherry-Lynn help out around their homes can call the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in Williamsburg at 613-535-2924.

Now in her second year of employment with the centre, Sherry-Lynn says she has enjoyed the work and the people she has met. “They really appreciate what I do, so they are always nice.”

The summertime student position is partially funded by a government grant, donations and by the charge assessed to the clients. 

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