OCTOBER 2021 NEWSLETTER | THE BAYPATH BULLETIN
Massachusetts Money Management Program
Q&A with a BayPath Money Management Volunteer
September marked the 30th year that the Massachusetts Money Management Program (MMMP) has been helping adults over 60 and adults living with a disability maintain their independence. The MMMP is overseen by the Executive Office of Older Affairs (EOEA) and Mass Home Care and is run by 21 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) across the state.
In honor of the 30th anniversary, Statewide Money Management Program Coordinator Carrie Haskell recognized the dedication of the MMMP volunteers who had 10 or more years of service across the state. While compiling the list and the certificates, Carrie noted that Mr. Don Curtis has been a Money Management volunteer since its inception 30 years ago, making him the longest-serving volunteer within the entire MMMP program!
BayPath has the distinctive honor of working with Don as a member of our Money Management volunteer team and recently had the opportunity to learn more about Mr. Curtis and his journey with the Money Management program.
BAYPATH: How many consumers do you work with at a time? What is your time commitment?
Don Curtis: I prefer to work with one consumer at a time, which enables me to get to know them and understand their financial situation with a singular focus. When I first start working with a BayPath consumer, I invest whatever time is needed upfront to review their financial challenges, work with them to determine their goals, and together we develop a plan to get their bills current. Thereafter, I meet with them monthly to review their bills and outgoing expenses, write out the checks and make sure they get posted.
BAYPATH: What is your favorite part of volunteering for this program?
Don Curtis: I enjoy helping people realize they do have sufficient funds to keep the bills paid, food in the fridge, and still have a little extra to do whatever they choose to use it for. It is also my goal to help people find and remove hidden fees such as bank fees or subscriptions that they don’t need or use and point out what discounts they are eligible for, like fuel assistance.
BAYPATH: If you were to share one success story with us, which one stands out to you?
Don Curtis: In one instance, I was working with a couple who still resided in the home they owned for years. Upon reviewing their finances, I saw that they did have sufficient funds but were not in a position to manage their federal benefits any longer. So, going through the proper channels, I became their Representative Payee. With that designation, I was able to directly manage their accounts, income, and outgoing expenses. When I started this journey with them, they had a lien on their home and were delinquent on their heating bill. After I was able to stabilize their finances, the lien was removed, their bills were brought up to date, and they could put in a new furnace.
BAYPATH: After 30 years, do you see yourself retiring from this volunteer work?
Don Curtis: I have been working with my current consumer since 2003. As long as he needs me, I will be there.
The Money Management Program is made possible through our wonderful and dedicated Volunteers.
BayPath benefits from a large and dedicated corps of volunteers for its Money Management Program. The program, which covers the 14 communities BayPath serves as well as the 12 communities served by HESSCO, currently has 79 volunteers working with consumers. Of those, 16 have been volunteering for 10 or more years, tying Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services for the most volunteers with a decade or more service with any agency in the state.
In addition to Don, BayPath’s volunteers include Jack Oster, who has been with the program for more than 25 years, and Anne Plaisted, a volunteer for over 22 years. The additional volunteers with 10 or more years of service are: Karen Spaziante, Linda Maguire, Kellianne Erath, Dorothy Vine, Judith Petrovic, David Crimmins, Lori Dunne, Stan Gagin, Maureen Osolnik, Richard Gottlieb, Ann Hendricks, Linda Sakin, and Glenda Thomas.
We salute them for their service and gratefully acknowledge all they have done and continue to do to improve the quality of life for the consumers we serve. Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers!