In his retirement, Robert D’Alessandro has found a new passion, volunteering in the library at Preston Hollow Elementary School. Thanks to a partnership between D’Alessandro’s home at Edgemere and The Senior Source, he joined a program called “Off Our Rockers,” which places senior volunteers at local elementary schools grades K-3.
“I truly enjoy the experience, and the time I spend volunteering with the children is so rewarding,” said D’Alessandro. “Each time I go I come away with several fun stories. I really hope to get some of my friends from Edgemere involved and volunteering with me!”
D’Alessandro volunteers in the library for two hours each week. He helps students select books for leisure reading and also reads books aloud to individuals and groups of students. His service allows the librarian to spend her time checking out books. D’Alessandro really enjoys the interaction with the students and the feeling is mutual.
D’Alessandro has had several memorable moments working at the school. One day he asked a group of students how many were from Dallas, and only two students were not. He learned that one girl was from Uganda. D’Alessandro told her the driver who brought him to the school was from Kenya, and after seeing the girl’s excitement, he actually brought the driver in to meet her when it was time for him to leave. The girl was so excited to meet someone else from her continent.
Another notable interaction was with a boy who didn’t speak English. The boy picked out a book about airplanes and D’Alessandro made paper airplanes for the little boy to enjoy while going through the book. D’Alessandro was rewarded with a big hug.
D’Alessandro, a retired architect, laughs at the thought that he’s serving in the library of all places. During his career, he primarily worked on institutional buildings such as prisons and schools. Each time they designed for a school they interviewed teachers for their opinions, and the hardest to please was always the librarian. Now D’Alessandro laughs as he realizes what a busy job it really is.
The partnership between Edgemere and The Senior Source resulted from Edgemere’s Masterpiece Living Initiative, which focuses on expanding and maximizing health, vitality and independence for residents.
With 304 independent living apartment homes, 60 assisted living suites, 31 memory care private apartments, and 72 private rooms for dignified skilled nursing, Edgemere is the largest and most comprehensive life care retirement community in Dallas. The community is located in the Preston Hollow/Park Cities area at 8523 Thackery St. at Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225. The Plaza Health Services at Edgemere located on the same campus at 8502 Edgemere Road at Northwest Highway, offers assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory support services for Edgemere life care residents, as well as for others in the community.
Edgemere, the only Masterpiece Living community in Dallas, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that owns sister communities The Buckingham in Houston, Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, The Stayton at Museum Way in Fort Worth, Mirador in Corpus Christi, and The Barrington at Carmel in Indianapolis. For information, call (469) 619-0825 or visit www.edgemeredallas.com.