Ann Cobb knows nursing homes aren’t exactly viewed as fun places to visit.

But this perception is off base, she said.

For more than 25 years the 87-year-old Binghamton woman has volunteered at Good Shepherd-Fairview Home on Binghamton’s East Side. And, she emphasizes, the smiles she sees on residents’ faces are well worth the time commitment.

“The best thing about it is that you get more than you give. Making people happy makes me happy,” she said.

Cobb is one of the 98 volunteers at the private, non-profit nursing home, said Lori Sciamanna, director of therapeutic recreation at the facility. They do a wide variety of activities including planning special events, teaching cooking and sewing classes, bringing pets for visits, putting on musical performances and running Bingo games.

Their role is extremely important because they help provide the crucial service of engaging residents, Sciamanna said. “They’re new faces for residents to interact with, and they lighten the load for staff members.”

Cobb became involved with Good Shepherd-Fairview when her late mother became a resident there. She first served on the board of directors and then, when her two-year term was up, kept volunteering as a member of the auxiliary (not all volunteers are auxiliary members).

Ann Cobb

Home: Binghamton.

Hometown: Binghamton.

Education: Binghamton Central High School.

Age: 87.

Family: Widow; four grown children; 12 grandchildren; three great grandchildren.

Career: Worked as secretary at West Presbyterian Church in Binghamton.

Other volunteer activities: Broome County Council of Churches’ Faith in Action program and knitting quilts at the church, United Presbyterian Church in Binghamton, for Mom’s House and the SOS Shelter.

Outside interests: Gardening, knitting, reading and crossword puzzles.

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