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LifePath thanks Laurie Deskavich for her service

When Laurie Deskavich thinks about LifePath, the first word that comes to mind is “commitment.” Reflecting on her 30-year career with the nonprofit agency, it’s easy to see where this insight comes from.

Before she graduated from Greenfield Community College in the spring of 1988, Laurie received the name and number of Al Norman, executive director of what was then Franklin County Home Care Corporation (FCHCC), from a mutual friend. “After speaking with Al, I was convinced FCHCC was the agency for me,” says Laurie. On May 16, the day after her college graduation, Laurie started working as a case manager.

Laurie Deskavich first choice photoAt LifePath's 2018 annual meeting, Laurie Deskavich was recognized for three decades of service to the community.Since then, Laurie has grown with the agency now known as LifePath. She went onto study Adult Psychology with a concentration in Gerontology at Syracuse University, and she holds a social work license and is a Certified Information and Referral Specialist for Aging/Disability. At LifePath, Laurie has served as an intake assessment specialist, certified SHINE counselor, and has assumed supervisory responsibilities for an array of programs. Today, Laurie oversees the Information and Caregiver Resource Center, which she calls “the hub of the agency.” Among other duties, she also supervises the Options Counseling and Caregiver Support programs. Recently, Laurie has been writing a monthly column, “Information & Caregiver Resource Corner,” here in The Good Life, tackling topics such as safe driving, self-care, diabetes, and, most popular, aging with a developmental disability.

The best part of her job, says Laurie, is “helping, supporting, and empowering consumers, caregivers, staff, and my peers.”

In her time with the agency, Laurie says she has learned many lessons, which could apply to all walks of life:

  • Listen and hear what is being said
  • Defend what is right
  • Give respect and you will be respected
  • Be visible and present
  • Be clear and consistent
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Never assume
  • Know it’s okay to agree to disagree
  • Be honest and humble
  • Remember kindness always matters

“With her vast knowledge, historical insights and strong leadership, Laurie is highly respected statewide and is the LifePath ‘go-to’ person,” says Executive Director Barbara Bodzin. “She has embraced new initiatives and assumed oversight of short-term and grant-funded programs without hesitation. On behalf of LifePath, we thank Laurie for her passion to advance the mission of providing options for independence and creating effective program operations within the organization.”

When asked why she has continued at LifePath for so long, Laurie says, “I admire the level of commitment and dedication that staff, in every department, bring every day to their work, consumers, and caregivers. I cherish those people and the memories we have made and look forward to making many more in the years to come.”

Laurie is also most proud of her two children, Taylor and Nathan. “I am who I am and do what I do because of them,” she says.

For those who will join in LifePath’s mission in the future, Laurie shares, “We have something for everyone, and we can make a difference in people’s lives.”

For more than 20 years, Greenfield Savings Bank has been a dedicated supporter of LifePath. LifePath is fortunate to have a local bank heading our annual Meals on Wheels Walkathon list of supporters.

GSBDenise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, and John Howland, president and CEO, are long-time supporters of the Meals on Wheels program at LifePath, along with many others from the bank.“Greenfield Savings Bank is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said John Howland, president and CEO of Greenfield Savings Bank. “Our partnership with LifePath is at the very core of that mission. That’s why in addition to our financial support, so many of our employees volunteer their time to support LifePath.”

Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer, has served on LifePath’s board for more than ten years, with many of those years serving as treasurer. She has also been a perennial volunteer for the Walkathon. “I know from personal experience, with my grandmother, how much it means for the elderly and people with disabilities to live independently. LifePath provides a range of services to help individuals, their families, and their caregivers to help make this possible.”

Linda Ackerman, assistant vice president and Turners Falls office sales manager has been dedicated to LifePath since 2015. She’s a devoted Walkathon walker, but also volunteers for LifePath’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Money Management programs. Linda shares, “I love my Bank for allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in the community. Volunteering helped fill the gap that existed after losing my parents. While missing my Mom and Dad will never go away, helping someone else’s Mom or Dad somewhat fills the void and makes me feel good!”

Over the years, many others inspired by Greenfield Savings Bank’s community spirit have lent LifePath their time, talent, and treasure. As a result, Greenfield Savings Bank’s impact at LifePath and on those we serve runs deep. It is our honor to accept all the ways Greenfield Savings Bank supports LifePath programs, continuing to make options for independence a reality for our community.

Thank you, Greenfield Savings Bank, and those you inspire to support elders, people with disabilities, and their caregivers in our community.

To learn more about giving your support to LifePath’s mission, click here or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 413-773-5555 x2225.

Generosity is our heritage and a key to our wellbeing

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James 

Generosity comes in many forms, from charitable donations to formal volunteering to helping a stranger to caring for a spouse or a child. What these and other examples have in common is that they involve “giving good things to others freely and abundantly,” the definition of generosity according to the University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity Project.

Generosity has its roots not just in our individual development but also in our very biology and evolutionary history; hosts of studies have uncovered evidence that humans are biologically wired for generosity. Many studies point to the positive consequences of generosity for the giver. Giving social support — time, effort, or goods — is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with delayed mortality.

Other studies have shown a link between generosity and happiness. And even small acts of kindness, like picking up something someone else has dropped, make people feel happy. Generosity is also associated with benefits in the workplace, such as reducing the likelihood of job burnout, and in relationships, where it is associated with more contentment and longer-lasting romantic relationships.

Kindness can be as simple as a smile, a thank-you, or a word of encouragement. It's a way of connecting, even if only for a brief moment, with those we pass in our daily lives. It doesn't have to cost anything or take much time - what's important is that it's an act of genuine care and thoughtfulness for another person.

As the year winds down and the holiday season rolls in, create a kind moment for someone, anyone, even yourself, through a purposeful act of kindness.

A generous spirit is not about giving when it’s easy…. It’s about tapping into your humanity and viewing the world and others before you through your human lens – the one that sees us all as the same.

Winter is coming

Ginger RSVPGinger ElliotWinter is coming (and we’re not just talking about the final season of Game of Thrones!).

The days are getting shorter and temperatures are falling. The prospect of upcoming holidays and family obligations may have you feeling melancholy or stressed. Then, after the holidays are finally over, we can look forward to… at least ten more weeks of winter! As the saying goes, summer flies and winter walks.

How to deal with the winter blahs?

In Norway, where winters are even longer, there is a word, “koselig,” which describes a state of being warm and cozy. We can embrace the opportunities for “koselig” that winter brings: long nights for sleeping under extra blankets; the delicious smells of savory soups and stews; a tempting pile of books; time to catch up with a favorite television series. Finding things that we enjoy about this time of year can help us get through the parts that simply have to be endured.

Photo of Joy and RobertRobert Amyot, a volunteer Ombudsman with LifePath, enjoys a conversation with Joy Page, a resident of Poet's Seat Health Care Center. Each week, Ombudsman volunteers visit the residents of their assigned nursing or rest home. They spend just a couple of hours there, hearing resident’s concerns, advocating for their rights, and helping resolve their complaints, but their dedication makes a big difference in the lives of the residents.Once you make sure that you are getting your daily allotment of “koselig,” it is time to get out of the house! Regular physical and mental activity is also important in fighting off the blahs. This could be the time to join that book group, sign up for a class, try yoga, swim laps at the community pool, walk at the mall, or learn to snowshoe. There are added benefits if the activity is new to you and/or if you do it with others.

Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house, try something you haven’t tried before, and meet new people. RSVP of the Pioneer Valley has over 300 volunteer positions in towns and cities throughout Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden counties, and we will help you find the one that is just right for you. You will, however, need to find your own winter “koselig”!

To begin your volunteering adventure before winter gets underway, contact Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley volunteer manager, by phone at 413-387-4558 x1 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FTC sealHang up on spoofed SSA calls

If you get a call that looks like it’s from the Social Security Administration (SSA), think twice. Scammers are spoofing SSA’s 1-800 customer service number to try to get your personal information. Spoofing means that scammers can call from anywhere, but they make your caller ID show a different number – often one that looks legit. Here are few things you should know about these so-called SSA calls.

These scam calls are happening across the nation, according to SSA: Your phone rings. Your caller ID shows that it’s the SSA calling from 1-800-772-1213. The caller says he works for the Social Security Administration and needs your personal information – like your Social Security number – to increase your benefits payments. (Or he threatens to cut off your benefits if you don’t give the information.) But it’s not really the Social Security Administration calling. Yes, it is the SSA’s real phone number, but the scammers on the phone are spoofing the number to make the call look real.

What can you do if you get one of these spoofed SSA calls? Hang up. Remember:

SSA will not threaten you. 

Real SSA employees will never threaten you to get personal information. They also won’t promise to increase your benefits in exchange for information. If they do, it’s a scam.

If you have any doubt, hang up and call SSA directly.

Call 1-800-772-1213 – that really is the phone number for the Social Security Administration. If you dial that number, you know who you’re getting. But remember that you can’t trust caller ID. If a call comes in from that number, you can’t be sure it’s really SSA calling.

If you get a spoofed call, report it.

If someone calls, claiming to be from SSA and asking for information like your Social Security number, report it to SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271. You can also report these calls to the FTC.

For more tips, check out the FTC’s guides: “How to Stop Unwanted Calls” and “Government Imposter Scams."  If you think someone has misused your personal information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and find out what steps to take.