Fontaine Fosco (left), who recently won the 2022 Hillsborough County Elderly Affairs Day Volunteer Award, with Hillsborough County Commissioner Gwen Myers, who presented her with the award.

On May 26, Hillsborough County Aging Services honored two volunteers for their dedication and contribution of numerous hours to assist staff as well as clients at the county’s senior centers. Carolyn Stafford and Fontaine Fosco, who attend Hillsborough County senior centers, both received the 2022 Hillsborough County Elderly Affairs Day Volunteer Award at the Oaks Senior Center in Tampa.

Brandon resident Fosco, 75, shared how she felt about winning the award: “I always like helping people and volunteering, it is my niche. To add, I was happy that I received this award.”

Fosco is originally from New York and has lived in Florida for 15 years. She began volunteering at the Brandon Senior Center in 2018. At this specific location, Fosco has logged more than 300 hours as a volunteer. Before the senior centers closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fosco assisted with activities, the Center’s reception area and anywhere else she saw a need.

Despite the pandemic, Fosco found another avenue to continue with her volunteering, which includes supporting all virtual programs. For instance, Fosco teaches other older adults how to use Zoom so they can participate in activities and virtual meetings. Fosco also learned advanced technical skills.

Mary Jo Mckay, nutrition and wellness manager at the Hillsborough County Aging Services, shared further on the vital role Fosco has at the Brandon Senior Center: “Fosco was very instrumental in helping seniors from the Brandon Senior Center to remain engaged because it was very difficult for some of them to join the classes virtually.”

In addition, Fosco trained to learn how to be a coach through a program called Do More, Feel Better at the University of South Florida, which is a five-year grant that helps those over 50 years old who are struggling with depression via Zoom.

“All in all, volunteers are invaluable assets to government and nonprofit organizations,” McKay said.

For more information, visit Call 813-272-5250. Those with questions about volunteering should call 813-853-2017.

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.