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Monday 29 May 2017
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Evelyn Lipscomb: Paying It Forward at the Pooler Senior Center

We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

Evelyn Lipscomb, a Candler County native, is a married mother of two adult children and grandmother of six. Evelyn moved back to this area almost five years ago after retiring from her career as an office administrator in New Jersey where she lived for most of her life. While in New Jersey, Evelyn received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and earned a membership in Alpha Kappa Delta, an International Sociology Honor Society. She also acquired certifications in both project management and grant writing. Evelyn is presently working to attain her Master’s Degree in Professional Communication and Leadership.

A while after retiring, Evelyn began to yearn for something that would allow her to be productive in some of her spare moments while also benefiting others. She soon became acquainted with the Pooler Senior Center after meeting its director Susan Edward. Evelyn spoke to Susan about volunteer opportunities, especially one particular project that would allow her to assist seniors in developing or enhancing their computer and banking skills. However, members had little interest. Interestingly enough, a crocheting class was being implemented into the program line-up. Evelyn welcomed the opportunity and agreed to teach the class each week, especially since she had wonderful crocheting skills.

In fact, Evelyn has been crocheting since she was 19 years old. Most people think that the gift was inherited from her mom Emma who had remarkable crocheting skills.

Evelyn states, “My mom was always doing little projects. She did the works—bedspreads, tablecloths–but I didn’t learn how to crochet from my mom.”

Actually, as a young adult in New Jersey, Evelyn had a summer job where she worked around much older women. They did crocheting nearly every day at lunchtime while she read books. In time, she talked to the women, one of which was quite intrigued by Evelyn’s tremendous interest in reading.

The lady asked, “Do you ever get tired of reading? Your brain has to be tired…all you do is read. Come over here and crochet with us; you’re going to love it.”

Evelyn remembers being given a size eight crochet hook; it is her favorite crochet hook to use to this day. Over time, she learned to crochet all types of items–hats, scarves, blankets, kitchen towels and much more. If she had a pattern, she had a product. Evelyn put crocheting aside for a while as she began pursuing her degree in sociology. Over the years, crocheting became something done in her spare time.

Evelyn has taught the crochet class at the Pooler Senior Center for about three years. The class is currently held every Monday at 10 a.m. Some of the seniors are skilled participants, while others may desire overall learning and development; some just leisurely watch. Various items can be made starting from the basics like dish towels, scarves or beanie hats ranging to more complex pieces like throws and blankets. The majority of the crochet items used are donated to the center. Upon completion, the items go to very worthwhile causes. Evelyn and Susan speak of one cause in particular that the center supports—the Linus Project.

Inspired by the blanket-carrying character Linus from Creator Charles Shultz’s Peanuts Comic Strip, the 100% volunteer-based non-profit organization donates blankets to establishments that help children in need from infants to teens; this includes places like hospitals, childhood cancer centers, orphanages and shelters to name a few. Individuals are encouraged to contact their local Linus Project Chapter to help the meaningful cause. Almost anyone can help and nearly all “new, hand-made and washable” items are welcomed.

Evelyn enjoys her time spent with the ladies who attend her class at the center each Monday. All-in-all, it is a nice time to talk, build and share skills and have a relaxing time together. Further, she really likes the atmosphere.

“Everybody is so laid back. I like the idea that you can encourage them and get them to do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily be wanting to do. It’s nice to be able to deal with people, especially when they’re older than I am…just to talk to them,” Evelyn asserts.

Evelyn knows that the center would not thrive without sound leadership. She feels that Susan is a great leader who really cares about the senior members and their well-being. Whether assuring that desired programs are in place or organizing fun trips for the seniors, Susan strives to enhance their overall quality of life.

Evelyn insists, “She’s a good director. She’s very concerned about her people here—always trying to make people happy. She has a good heart.”

Evelyn is thankful for all those who inspired and helped her over the years; she just wants to “pay it forward.” Upon completing her degree, Evelyn aspires to donate some of her time to non-profit organizations that need help with services. Looking ahead, she has a vision of teaching small children on the nursery school level to crochet, starting their development in the craft at a very early age.

Evelyn feels that all seniors, both “natives and out-of-towners,” should visit the center to see all that it offers. She is confident that they will not be disappointed. Evelyn believes that they will “be surprised how much their quality of life will improve.”

She encourages seniors, “You really should come see all of the things for you to do.”

Besides crocheting, Evelyn has several other interests.

“I enjoy going to school…I always enjoy learning. I’m a walker…I walk a lot. I like shopping—looking for antiques. I love to travel,” she comments. In fact, Evelyn is looking forward to a big road trip with some friends where they will visit various sites, including the popular eatery Sweetie Pie’s, a nationally-renowned restaurant in Missouri.

Evelyn is glad to share her time and talent with the seniors at the Pooler Senior Center. She refuses to take life for granted as she strives to “pay it forward.”

She remarks, “I’m just thankful that I lived to be this age and that I’m still active and can do things. I’m just looking forward to tomorrow.”




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