For many older adults, retirement isn’t just a time for leisure – although there’s plenty of that to enjoy at The Manor at York Town – it also presents opportunities to give back and serve others. This is particularly true for Elisabeth Robbins, who was among the first residents to move into the community in 2003.
“I’m not the type to kick up my feet. When I told my friends and family that I was considering retirement, they said ‘You’re going to hate it,’” Elisabeth says with a smile on her face.
“I’ve always been an active person. I was a mathematician. I was graduated from college and I got a job with General Electric. It was in the late 1950s during the Cold War, and I worked on nose cones for intercontinental ballistic missiles. I also worked on spaceships, including the first craft we sent up. After that, I went to Philco Ford and worked on the first color television sets. Then I went with Univac and did a lot of different things, including working on the storm sewers in San Francisco. So settling down was never an option for me.”
Building on such a prolific career, Elisabeth now dedicates her time and energy to helping underserved Native American communities. For the past six years, she has organized a community clothes collection for Americans for Native Americans (ANA).
“The connection to ANA is slightly personal to me because my great-grandmother was Mohawk, and my husband’s grandmother was Tuscarora. When I found out about the organization, it really interested me,” Elisabeth shares.
“Several years ago, around the time I found out about ANA, we had a community meeting of Manor residents. We wanted to do something for a charity but nobody had any ideas. So I suggested we collect clothes for Native American children.”
“The collection goes to children on the Navajo and Zuni Reservations in Arizona and New Mexico, and the need varies from year-to-year,” Elisabeth explains. “One year there was a need for boy’s clothes. Another year, there was a request for baby items – clothes, diapers, shampoo, cream, you name it.
It’s really striking what they need, and it makes you realize that you’ve been fortunate and have the power to make a difference.
As an independent living community, The Manor offers opportunities for residents to remain active with a fulfilling sense of purpose by giving back and touching the lives of others.
“The collection seems to get bigger and bigger. The last several years have been fantastic. We have a great community here that keeps us active and involved,” says Elisabeth. “I seem to be busy all the time.”