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Volunteer Spotlight


SSSEVA presents President’s Award for Volunteerism to Vivian Henderson


Cathy Dalton, left, president of the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia Board of Directors, awards Vivian Henderson, deputy commonwealth attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, with the President's Award for Volunteerism. Henderson has served SSSEVA through her role as Chesapeake graduate chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. for the past four years. The award was presented at the agency's annual meeting in Norfolk on Jan. 25.


Meet Priscilla Jackson

Priscilla Jackson has been an Ombudsman volunteer for 11 years through Senior Services. She serves the residents at Sentara Nursing Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her mother who was a volunteer Ombudsman in New York City inspired Ms. Jackson. Her mother would comment on the need for more volunteers in long-term care settings. That need is still relevant today.

As an Ombudsman, she establishes relationships with residents and ensures the protection of resident’s rights so they are treated with dignity and respect. If there is a violation of resident’s rights, Ms. Jackson jumps in and works with the management staff to correct any problems.

“When I visit residents and tell them I’m there for them, I sometimes get a puzzled look.  Many of the residents have never heard the word ‘Ombudsman’ before,” she said.

Many residents in long-term care facilities do not have family members visiting them on a regular basis and Ms. Jackson is sometimes the only person they see other than facility staff.

“When their faces light up when they see me, or they tell me how glad they are to see me or ask me to come back and just talk, I am fulfilled,” Ms. Jackson said. She prides herself in knowing that when she visits, she is a voice for the ones that cannot speak for themselves. 

As an Ombudsman, Ms. Jackson is a vital part of the facility care team. The administrator, Ms. Karen Wilhelm, stated that residents and their families share information with her that help the care plan team improve in meeting the needs of the residents they are care for.  

Thank you Ms. Jackson for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!


Meet Brian Ellis

Brian Ellis is a volunteer driver through Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program.

“One of the reasons I volunteer is because while being an active duty service member, I feel like it is important to give back to the community while setting a high standard,” Mr. Ellis said. “The main reason I [volunteer] is because I really enjoy meeting people around the Hampton Roads area that need help. The stories they share and few minutes we spend together are priceless. [At one of the volunteer routes] I met a lady [who] was 101 years old. She told me that she drank a beer and walked a block a day and that was her secret to longevity. I would look forward to meeting her every time I went out. She was always my last stop so I could stay and chat with her for a while.”

Thank you Brian for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!


Meet Sue Lemmon

Sue Lemmon is a Benefits counselor for seniors and provides invaluable support in educating seniors about their choices for Medicare.

“Volunteering makes me feel more connected to my community,” she explained. “I was living in Arizona and had the opportunity to volunteer as a Medicare counselor at the local Area Agency on Aging. I discovered that Medicare options are complicated and there are penalties if the right choices are not made at the right time. I found it very personally satisfying to provide education to other seniors so they could make informed decisions about their medical care that fit their particular situation.

When I moved back to Virginia, I wanted to continue using my Medicare knowledge in my new community and sought out Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, the local Area Agency on Aging in Hampton Roads. I am proud to be a volunteer in this organization.”

In addition to Benefits Counseling at SSSEVA, she is also involved with READ Virginia Beach, tutoring first graders in reading once a week.

Seniors frequently get overwhelmed and confused when presented with the options for their insurance and Medicare can be difficult to navigate. Additionally, there is a short window of time to make these decisions each year – during October to December. This is right during the holiday season when many other events demand attention. There are serious consequences if this window of time is missed. Senior Services Benefits Counselors help seniors with awareness of options, submitting paperwork, and providing support throughout the whole process.

Thank you Sue for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!

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