- Written by Janis Merrell
- Published: 19 June 2019
On Friday, June 7, 11 women graduated from the SHINE program at LifePath’s office in Greenfield. SHINE is an acronym for “Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone” and that is just what these fantastic volunteers will be doing. As newly certified SHINE counselors, they will work in their own communities to provide free and unbiased health insurance information, education, and assistance services to Medicare beneficiaries and adults with disabilities. Lorraine York-Edberg, SHINE Regional Program Director, provided the intensive 60 hour training. “I have a greater respect for SHINE counselors because of the complexity and amount of information they have to learn,” said graduate Linda Talbot of Whately. “Lorraine is an excellent instructor, enjoyable and informative.”
Graduate Leanne Dowd of Greenfield said, “When it started, the training seemed overwhelming, but with the education from Lorraine and the materials provided, it became completely understandable.”
“She made it fun,” added graduate Wanda Kelly of Pelham.
Reasons for becoming a SHINE volunteer varied. Graduate Buliah Mae Thomas of Easthampton explained, “I’m a senior myself although I’m still working full-time. I wanted to give seniors and people with disabilities my knowledge after going through the program. I wanted them to have more knowledge than I had. I want to thank Lorraine for giving me the opportunity to be a SHINE counselor.”
“As newly certified SHINE Counselors, they will work in their own communities to provide free and unbiased health insurance information, education, and assistance services to Medicare beneficiaries and adults with disabilities.”
Each graduate received a rose, a datebook, and a certificate of graduation at the final class, before enjoying a potluck meal. York-Edberg said, “This was a great group of SHINE trainees. They have and will go above and beyond to assist the Medicare beneficiaries in our service area!”
If you have questions about Medicare options, you can consult with SHINE counselors over the phone or in person at your area senior center, in your home, or at another location that is convenient for you. The SHINE program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) provides free, confidential, and unbiased health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. To reach a trained and certified counselor in your area, contact the Regional Office at 1-800-498-4232 or 413-773-5555 or contact your local Council on Aging.