Interview by Pam Higginbotham. Photos by Jan Osborn.
When Kathy and Larry Helm heard about The Senior Source’s 60th Birthday Diamond Dance-Off, they knew they had to put on their dancing shoes! For the Helms, this event combined two of their passions into one. Celebrating and supporting The Senior Source, a Dallas-area nonprofit that has been serving older adults for 60 years, and dancing together, which they have been doing since they were high school sweethearts. Both Kathy and Larry have chaired the board of directors of The Senior Source and have been proud supporters since 1998. It seemed only fitting they should be voted into the finals to dance on stage at Klyde Warren Park this past summer.
Larry and Kathy Helm are grateful and humbled for being chosen as the honorees of The Senior Source’s annual Spirit of Generations Awards Luncheon. Taking inspiration from their parent’s example of service and leadership, they continue serving together to help make a difference in the lives of others. The Helms have a special place in their heart for seniors and that is reflected through their years of dedication to The Senior Source and to the community they serve.
How did you both become involved with The Senior Source and how long have you been serving with the organization?
Larry joined the board in the nineties and was chairman in 1998. Kathy joined the board in 2010 and was chair in 2016-17. Kathy has been raising money and finding new directors ever since.
How did your family backgrounds influence the desire to volunteer and give back to the community?
Our parents were active in our community of Memphis, Texas. In church, civic and other not for profit activities they held leadership positions and volunteered to help those who needed it the most. They set a good example for us.
What have you learned that Seniors need most?
Protection from fraudsters, a sense of family and support, assistance with healthcare and government programs, a chance to contribute to society with the skills and love they have.
What type of REsources and events are provided by The Senior Source?
The Senior Source programs are: Financial Assistance, Frauds and Scams, Employment Services, Family Caregiver Support, Nursing Home/Assisted Living Resources, Senior Volunteer Programs such as RSVP, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions.
As you look back over the years, what are some of your favorite memories of your time serving with the Senior Source?
It truly gave me a chance to really learn about all the good that this agency does for the many seniors in our community that have no other place to turn in their later years. It also has given me wonderful friendships with others who have the same compassion and to see such generosity.
The Senior Source hosts a fundraiser luncheon each year. What is the format of the luncheon and how are the funds used?
The luncheon is the predominant fundraising event they do and the funds raised go to support and expand the programs mentioned above. The Senior Source picks someone, usually a couple, who has been active in the community by supporting numerous causes that help the less fortunate. Donors buy tables and come to the luncheon where highlights of their life are showcased by friends and family.
You have both been chosen as Honorees for the upcoming fundraiser luncheon. What does this special honor mean to you?
We are humbled by this honor, especially when we think about how many very generous there are in Dallas. To be considered alongside past honorees is truly an honor and one that will hold a special place in our memory.
How has volunteering together for The Senior Source impacted you as a couple?
The joy and personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering is contagious and brings us closer together and less self-centered. So it strengthens our marriage in that way.
What changes have you seen over the years and what do you envision for the future of The Senior Source?
By all means the needs have gotten greater since 1997. The latest program that was added several years ago is the Elder Financial Safety Center. They educate older adults on frauds and scams and work with the District Attorney and Probate Courts to bring scammers to justice. The Senior Source has also seen the need for enhanced technology education for seniors. To make sure older adults aren’t left bend in the digital age, they offer seniors classes to help.
What are some of the ways to become involved with The Senior Source?
There are ways to volunteer at The Senior Source through a variety of opportunities such as serving as a Friendly Visitor and brightening the day of residents in long-term care facilities. Other volunteer opportunities are within the Money Management program, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, and Guardianship program. Of course, another way to become involved is with donations to help support the programs that we do at The Senior Source.
The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Annual Awards Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, March 1 at the Hilton Anatole. The Junior League of Dallas will receive the Molly H. Bogen Service Award. This award honors a community leader who is making significant contributions to ensuring older adults in greater Dallas have the tools and resources to age with dignity and purpose.
The Senior Source is proud to serve all older adults regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The Senior Source champions older adults.
The Senior Source empowers active older adults to live with purpose.
The Senior Source protects vulnerable older adults.
The Senior Source advocates for and ensure the financial and emotional well-being of Dallas-area older adults.