By Rohanna Muth
Ibu Rahayu’s vision. Ibu Rahayu expressed her wish that Susila Dharma provide support to Subud Elders in need of practical or spiritual assistance in their lives. With this inspiration, Susila Dharma USA has created a project called The Elderberry Program, which will fall under the auspices of Subud USA before establishing its own independent non-profit 501(c)3 status. Mardiyah Tarantino, Rachael Knotz and Marilyn Schirk comprise the team that is helping to transform Ibu Rahayu’s vision into reality.
We are grateful to Ibu Rahayu for lighting the flame beneath this endeavor. For those of us who are Elders, it will be comforting to know that this service exists, and for those who become Volunteers, it will be fulfilling to set foot on this natural path, enriching one another’s lives mutually rewarding for both Elders and Volunteers.
Elderberry’s mission. The primary mission of Elderberry is to meet the significant and growing need within the aging Subud community in the United States, caring for members who would welcome assistance as well as reuniting and serving our elder members who may have drifted away due to illness and/or age. Elderberry will leverage Subud networks local and regional helpers, committees and affiliates to identify Elders in need and understand the services to provide.
Elderberry Volunteers. Volunteer Subud members will provide one-on-one support to Elders in the program (as indeed many members are already doing privately), with the hope of building long-term relationships. Volunteers may apply for monetary assistance in case of special circumstances. In addition to visits, transportation to doctors/other appointments and stores, etc., Volunteers may arrange transportation to and from latihans or make arrangements for latihan in their homes if desired. They may also need to liaise with local services and other community organizations as required. Volunteers will be matched to the Elderberry client by a regional Elderberry Board Member; conversely, if a Subud member is already aware of an Elder’s need in their community, they can approach Elderberry to become part of the volunteer corp. Or, an elder Subud member can contact Elderberry to request a Volunteer. Volunteers and the Elderberry Board will work together to discuss problems, resolve issues and determine expenses for reimbursement. Ongoing needs assessments and an annual reporting process for services will be a key part of the program, as will feedback from Elders.
How Elderberry is set up. Funding for The Elderberry Program is anticipated through a grant from Susila Dharma USA. Elderberry will maintain its own books and records, and report regularly to Subud USA regarding members served, finances and overall status. The Elderberry Board will include a Director, one Board Member from each region and an ex-officio member from Subud USA. Rohana Broadnax (Subud Midwest), Liliana Williams (Subud California) and Rohanna Muth (Subud Rocky Mountains) are three tested and confirmed Board Members to date, and we hope to have Board Members in place from the other regions by 2014. We also hope to have coordinators in the centers to help coordinate Volunteer/Elder services.
How you can serve as a Volunteer. If you feel moved to help an Elder member, please contact Elderberry about becoming a Volunteer. After the usual background check and drivers license verification, you will be introduced to an Elderberry client. You will learn how to liaise with local services and obtain legal papers you might need in some instances. Also, if you
Elderberry Program Roles and Responsibilities of Board, Director, and Volunteers
know of a Subud Elder’s need in your community, don’t hesitate to approach Elderberry to request a
Volunteer who will meet and attend to that Elder.
Seeking a Director and additional Board Members. Please let us know if you would like to become a
Board Member from your region; (Subud South, East Coast, Pacific Islands and Pacific Northwest regionsare still needed). Elderberry is also searching for a Director, and we would like to discuss this positionwith you if you are interested. You can reach Marilynat 503-297-5066 or firstname.lastname@example.org Rachel at 310-874-5917 or email@example.com, or Mardiyah at 760-778-5371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elderberry welcomes all who have concerns about our elderly members, some who have given many
years of service to Subud and to helping others. Special thanks to Rosetta Narvaez who has served as
advisor to launching this project, and to those of you who have been volunteering on your own.