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SABRINA JUNKIN:WHY SHE BECAME A BOARD MEMBER FOR PATHWAYS

By John Grossi 

Photo by Monique Kuhlman



“Holy cow! This place is poppin’!” I marveled, upon meeting Sabrina Junkin at the City of Lakewood’s Weingart Senior Center. That’s where Sabrina has acted as the Community Services supervisor for over 30 years.


She laughed, “People’s perception of a senior center always changes when they come here… we are a very active center.” 


It was true. Everywhere you looked, people were just… having fun. Guys shooting pool, a packed lunchroom, a group of women crafting round a circular table. There were literally hundreds of people, each of them busy with some type of activity. And afternoon karaoke was to start in an hour.


“Everyone’s perception is that a senior center is a bunch of older people sitting around knitting or watching TV. We’re the opposite,” said Sabrina.


Why She Became A Board Member For Pathways

I was there to ask Sabrina more about her connection to Pathways, the local non-profit that bills itself as, “Your trusted friend through life’s toughest moments.” Pathways’ three-part “Circle of Care” includes care navigation for older adults, hospice, and bereavement.


“Why did I become a board member? Because Cindy asked me to be on it,” Sabrina laughed.  

That was the short answer.


Sabrina said that she and Cindy Skovgard, the Executive Director for Pathways, had seen eye-to-eye since they first met decades ago… both with a passion to transform the world of local senior services.


Of course, I asked Sabrina for the longer answer, and it had to do with that amazing community she’d built at the Weingart Senior Center over the last 30 years. Kind of.


“It’s one of those organizations where... when times are good… you don’t think of Pathways. When times are good, you think of us, the recreation center where we’re all here having a good time with all these activities,” said Sabrina.


“But when you look around at our active population, you don’t think of the senior who might be homebound and needs help and has no family close by. The seniors in the shadows. They’re the ones who end up coming across Pathways door.”


In other words, what Sabrina can do by serving on the Pathways board is help better ensure the happiness of ALL seniors. Even the ones who don’t come through her door.


“Cindy always emphasizes that if Pathways doesn’t immediately know what to do, they will never say, ‘Sorry that’s not what we do.’ They will find the place or person you need to call. They will never let a senior… or anyone for that matter… fall through the cracks.”


Sabrina insists that everybody at some point will know someone who can use the help of Pathways. “You see the seniors out and about playing pickleball, having a good time. But if a spouse passes away or a family member is gravely ill and has to go on hospice… when all those inevitable, tragic situations invariably occur. If you’re lost… you should call Pathways…they’ll know what to do.”


Why Sabrina Encourages You To Get Involved With Pathways

When I walked into that senior center, I thought I was going to interview Sabrina about how the services Pathway offers had motivated her to become a board member beginning in 2016.


That, however, was not my takeaway.


Sabrina’s true evangelization for Pathways came after she’d joined the board, when she reviewed their financial statement for the first time.


In other words…for twenty years, she had known how much Pathways did for the community and was excited for the opportunity to serve on the board. But when she saw the statement, and first realized that Pathways has been achieving all they do on such a massively underwhelming budget, Sabrina gained a whole new level of respect for the local non-profit.


“I was shocked at how small the staff was and how much they’re able to do with that small staff. And then seeing the monetary resources they have and how much they’re able to accomplish, I was even more astonished. These people have a passion to do this because they work very, very hard.”


Almost every year, Pathways somehow offers more and more services to an expanded population of older adults on an extremely thin budget. Sabrina hopes to open the eyes of others so that more people might volunteer and/or donate to this amazing local organization. She encourages folks to become involved as supporters before the time when they or a loved one might become a client.


“The Pathways personnel are a small staff doing major things in our area. Their mission is to help people, that’s truly what a non-profit should be. It’s just a highly dedicated group of kind-hearted individuals trying to do good in this world.”



SPRING INTO ACTION!

Help Pathways continue to help those facing the troubles of old age, grief, and loss. Donate to Pathways and make a difference by going to pathwayschb.org/donate, calling (562) 531-3031, or scanning the QR code!

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