Tue07292014

Senior Lifestyles

Back for more: Local scout completes second effort to help seniors prepare for emergencies


John
Renny Glasner, far right, and a handful of Boy Scouts compile emergency kits for Los Altos seniors last month at Hillview Community Center. Hammerschmidt/ special to the Town Crier

A Los Altos teen with a penchant for helping seniors is at it again.

Eagle Scout Warren “Renny” Glasner, 17, teamed up last month with Los Altos Rotarian and Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Senior Commission Chairwoman Anabel Pelham to provide 100 backpacks containing a three-day supply of essential survival items for seniors in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. The duo, along with a handful of local scouts and two city of Los Altos staff members, assembled and distributed the emergency kits to registered Los Altos and Los Altos Hills seniors April 5 in the Hillview Community Center Multipurpose Room. The group distributed 80 backpacks at the event and delivered 20 more to nonmobile seniors in the community.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos’ Partners for Elder Generations Committee, the Los Altos Community Foundation and Los Altos Legacies – a philanthropy group dedicated to enhancing the lives of seniors – funded the prgram. Each emergency kit included a whistle, glow sticks, a rain poncho, a blanket and a booklet with guidelines to follow in the event of a disaster. A three-day supply of drinking-water pouches and two days’ worth of energy bars were also included.

“This is something that’s pretty important for everyone to have,” said Glasner, a junior at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. “If you don’t have access to typical sources of food and water for those three days, this (emergency kit) is optimal.”

The event comes on the heels of Glasner’s 2013 project with Pelham to distribute 200 Universal Serial Bus (USB) sticks to seniors that contained their emergency medical information for responders to use in the event of a medical event.

Pelham called her latest effort with Glasner “beautiful,” noting that emergency-kit distribution helps fulfill one of a handful of unmet needs identified in a Senior Commission survey of elderly residents in 2011.

“The totally cool thing about (the emergency kit event) is that exactly the type of people we wanted to serve showed up for the event – and that’s older adults,” she said.

The event, Pelham added, ended up as a positive exercise in mutual admiration between two distinct generations of residents from Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

“The interaction between the scouts and the seniors was just charming. … The seniors love being around young people,” she said. “There just seemed to be this organic affinity between the seniors and the teens.”

Glasner said the idea of distributing emergency backpacks to seniors was something he and Pelham initially discussed while working together on the USB effort – Glasner’s Eagle Scout project – approximately a year ago.

The decision to take on the second project was an easy one to make, he added, because it provided him an outlet to give back. He also credited Pelham – a professor of gerontology at San Francisco State University – with offering a guiding hand in making both projects a reality.

“She’s extremely well versed on the topic and has been very helpful in giving me advice and coaching me so that I can complete both projects,” he said.

Pelham, meanwhile, said she remains impressed with Glasner’s willingness to offer a helping hand to one of the community’s most vulnerable populations.

“He’s such a good leader and organizer,” she said. “The thing I love about him is that he’s always even-tempered and mellow. This project would not have succeeded without him. He was the key.”

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