The Kivenkolo Community Centre in Espoo celebrated the 25th year of volunteer work by Kaveri-Kammari (Chamber of Friends) on 1 November 2018. A total of 120 elderly people and local residents participated in the event. The event commemorated Kaveri-Kammari’s founder, Liisa Selänne, and was organised by her friends and the friends of his son, hockey player Teemu Selänne, in cooperation with Kaveri-Kammari’s active volunteers.
Mayor Jukka Mäkelä, Chair of the Kaveri-Kammari Pekka Virtanen and Teemu Selänne took part in the celebration.
“Kaveri-Kammari was Liisa’s life’s work, which we want to continue. Kaveri-Kammari is a great example of community spirit and caring. Volunteering brings people together and gives new experiences, new skills and opportunities to feel good. This is very beneficial to individual people but also to our society as a whole,” says Maria Ekroth, a long-time friend of the Selänne family.
Located in Espoonlahti, Kivenkolo is a community centre where many elderly people in the area come for example to have lunch, meet other people, read or use the public computer. Kaveri-Kammari recruits and assigns volunteers with the aim of helping elderly people at home and in various institutions in the area. It also organises Thursday clubs for senior residents in the area.
“My mother really cared about Kivenkolo and Kaveri-Kammari. In my childhood home, we were taught to take care of other people. My mother herself set a great example. She had a place in her heart for elderly people in particular. I hope this work will also inspire other people to give some of their time to do good. It would be wonderful to see the work started by my mother continue. There is a great need for new volunteers to continue this important work,” says Teemu Selänne who visited the event.
The activities in Kivenkolo are maintained by the City of Espoo in cooperation with local organisations. Kaveri-Kammari maintains a lunch restaurant at Kivenkolo, enabling elderly people and local residents meet over an affordable and nutritious lunch. No one needs to eat alone, and the lunches often turn into nice chats where everyone gets to share their latest news. The active volunteers of Kaveri-Kammari understand the importance of their work.
“What we do significantly improves the mental health of elderly people, which in turn affects their overall well-being. Some 2,500 elderly people participate in Kaveri-Kammari’s activities every year,” says Pekka Virtanen, Chair of the Kaveri-Kammari registered association.
“The City of Espoo highly values the work of volunteers, as it would be difficult for the city to promote a sense of community if we were acting alone. We are happy to support the activities of Kaveri-Kammari and similar organisations,” said Mayor of Espoo Jukka Mäkelä in his speech at the event.
The active volunteers of Kaveri-Kammari are worried about finding new active and casual volunteers. The lunch restaurant is funded by various grants and donations, but new volunteers are sought after. They help elderly people get from home to the Thursday club if getting around is difficult for them and visit grocery stores and pharmacies with them. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact Kaveri-Kammari!
“Volunteering gives a lot to the volunteers themselves, too. It is nice to feel useful, and many times it is the volunteer who ends up being helped. We warmly welcome new volunteers to join our activities,” says Pekka Virtanen.
Author of the text Paula Aalto works at Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.