InMotion Volunteers Being Honored at Pals In Motion

One reason InMotion is able to offer services at no cost to clients is due to our many volunteers who help us day in and day out, week after week – at the front desk and in our classes. We would not be able to do what we do without them! We are thanking them for all that they do by dedicating the 2018 Pals In Motion race in their honor.

Help us celebrate our volunteers by making a gift in their honor. Everyone who makes a gift honoring a volunteer will be listed on a special poster at the race, which can also include a personal note to the volunteer.

To make a gift, visit

Collectively our nearly 40 volunteers provided approximately 2,150 hours of service over the past 12 months. Below you can read about a few of our volunteers who we have spotlighted in our newsletter over the past year.

Sheila Levine
Sheila Levine, of Pepper Pike, has been volunteering at InMotion for the past two years. Sheila can be found behind the front desk Thursday mornings welcoming clients as they arrive for class. She is also a volunteer coach in the Mindful Movement class on Wednesday mornings.

Sheila was introduced to InMotion by Amy and the late Lee Handel. She is inspired by the connections clients form with one another and watching their enjoyment when participating in classes and conversing in the living room between classes.

Linda Schlein
You can find Linda Schlein Thursday mornings behind the desk greeting clients and checking them in for class. Linda, a retired elementary school teacher, has been volunteering since InMotion opened its doors back in 2015. A longtime friend of Amy and Lee Handel, InMotion is a constant reminder to Linda of the wonderful legacy left behind by Lee that is being carried out by Amy.

Linda enjoys watching clients interact, smile and be happy. She is touched by the fact that people with Parkinson’s are given a sense of hope at InMotion, that they feel better after participating in class and foster camaraderie with other participants.

Tonya Waggoner
Say hello to Tonya Waggoner, one of our dedicated volunteers who helps out at our front desk on Friday mornings. Tonya was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005 shortly after moving to the Cleveland area and made a commitment to focus on her health and family. She first heard about InMotion through emails she received from “Shaking with Laughter” and Dr. Karen Jaffe and responded to a request for volunteers in one of the first InMotion newsletters.

Tonya said that she still recalls the first time a caregiver was brought to tears when relaying how happy she was to see her loved one in class. The sense of comradery and welcoming community that InMotion creates for everyone who comes in is what Tonya likes best about the center. Her volunteering has allowed her to look beyond PD and see the person beneath the disease – for herself and others. “Acceptance of a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not defeat, it arms you for a better fight against the disease!”

Harriet Kitay
Step into InMotion on a Monday morning and you’ll likely be greeted by Harriet Kitay’s welcoming smile. Harriet, who resides in Lyndhurst, welcomes clients and caregivers every Monday morning as a front desk volunteer.

A former owner of furniture stores, and current competitive bridge player, Harriet heard about InMotion from a friend. She said her time at InMotion has taught her “patience and positivity,” and she truly enjoys “the spirit of the clients and the warmth of the staff.”

One of the most touching experiences at InMotion for Harriet occurred several months ago. Harriet spent time talking with a new client who appeared to be very depressed. About three weeks later, after getting involved in classes and interacting with staff and other clients, Harriet noticed a huge change in this person, “She really seemed like a new person! Really a positive attitude!”

Positive. Rewarding. Camaraderie. Those are the three words Harriet uses to describe her volunteer experience at the Center. And how has InMotion has touched her life? “I just love being here,”  Harriet said. “It makes a person realize what is important in life.”

Laura Bennett & Natalie Skall
When you arrive at InMotion on a Wednesday afternoon, you will most likely be greeted by Laura Bennett and Natalie Skall. Both have been volunteering their time at InMotion since the doors opened in March 2015.

Laura, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014, heard about InMotion at a PD Symposium that she attended with her husband shortly after her diagnosis. As both a client and a volunteer, Laura has a unique perspective of InMotion.

“I am amazed at the community of support and friendships I’ve developed here. I can speak openly about my PD and can share my own experiences with new clients as well as those who have had PD for many years,” she said. “The staff and participants here give me hope and a positive outlook.”

Laura looks at volunteering as a way to give back, as all programs and classes at InMotion are free of charge for those with PD and their caregivers.

“Everyone experiences Parkinson’s in a different way, so it’s important to know what resources are available for people and especially what InMotion can offer,” she adds.

Natalie heard about InMotion from Amy and late founder Lee Handel, whom she and her husband Richard are close with, during the conception stages. Her husband, in fact, had known Lee since High School. In addition, she has been a client of founder Ben Rossi for over 10 years.

A retired Medical Technologist, Natalie is “amazed and wonderfully surprised to see the progress that clients have made through exercise and interaction with other clients.” Although her career has always revolved around the medical field, she had not been directly involved with clients until volunteering at InMotion but has found it very rewarding.

Per Natalie, “InMotion serves and fills a great need in our community. And it is a very rewarding and pleasant place to volunteer!”

Kathy Cohen
If you stop by InMotion on a typical Thursday afternoon, you are likely to be greeted by Kathy Cohen’s welcoming smile. Kathy, the daughter of InMotion founder Allan Goldberg, has been volunteering at InMotion for the past two years. A current resident of Moreland Hills, she is a licensed independent social worker currently taking time off to raise her two children.

“My Happy Place” are three words that Kathy uses to describe her volunteer experience at InMotion. “It has enriched my life on so many levels. To have someone walk in directly from their doctor with a new diagnosis of PD and have our community welcome them with open arms and hearts is so fulfilling,” she says. “To be able to provide hope and encouragement is the most fulfilling.”

Unable to pinpoint a specific experience as the most touching she has witnessed at InMotion she states, “There are too many to count. Every day that I am here is special. To see clients smile and engage in activities that they never thought possible is immensely satisfying!”

Kathy feels there is nothing not to like at InMotion! “This is such a loving, warm, safe place for those with PD, their caretakers and families. We have made a wonderful community with wonderful people.”

Cindy Polster & Barbara Schaefer
When Cindy Polster brought her uncle to InMotion for a tour, she was hopeful that he would agree to participate in the center’s classes and programs to help him with his Parkinson’s disease. What she didn’t expect was that she herself would also decide that day to become a part of the InMotion community by volunteering.

“Another volunteer at the front desk shared that they were looking for more volunteers, and I decided that InMotion could be a wonderful place for my uncle and a volunteer project that I could feel really good about,” says Cindy.

On Wednesdays, Cindy joins another volunteer, Barb Schaefer, at the front desk where they greet clients, answer questions, sign clients in for classes, and register for future classes or programs.

“I love the positive spirit and the comradery of the clients, families, staff, and volunteers,” she explains.

When asked how she thinks InMotion has helped her uncle, Cindy says, “InMotion has been an invaluable resource for my uncle. Before he felt like he was the only one who had this disease, but now he is part of a community. I am thrilled to be able to give back by volunteering.”

Cindy credits the instructors for nurturing an enthusiastic environment. “I see positivity. People seem to forget their troubles and their carepartners forget their troubles too. The instructors put on the best music—it’s energizing and contagious. No one leaves early!”

Cindy is a sculptor, following a career in dentistry. She and her husband are residents of Pepper Pike and the parents of three adult children. In addition to volunteering at InMotion, Cindy has served on the alumni board at Laurel School and has volunteered as a reading tutor at City of Cleveland and Breakthrough schools.

Barbara Schaefer has been volunteering since InMotion opened its doors after attending a Cleveland Heights Parkinson’s Support Group where former Executive Director Lacy Roth spoke and mentioned that when InMotion opened they would be looking for volunteers.

Since coming to InMotion, Barbara says, “I am continually impressed by the caregivers and how kind and supportive they are of those they support. I am also impressed with how helpful and engaged Ben, Dan, and all the staff are with the clients.”

Before coming to InMotion, Barbara, who is retired and resides in Mayfield Heights, kept busy teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), traveling, working on her genealogy, participating in clinical trials, and exercising.

Describing her volunteer experience to date as “enriching, fun and challenging,” Barbara enjoys the sense of community at InMotion and the wide variety of activities available, stating “There is something for everyone!”

“InMotion certainly has given me a lot of hope that there is help for those with movement disorders,” says Barbara.

Nancy Grannis
On Wednesday and Thursdays, you’ll find Nancy Grannis helping out Ben Rossi and his team in the Better Every Day (BED) classes. Since InMotion began in 2015, Nancy has been volunteering in the BED classes and was actually the first volunteer coach for BED.

Fulfilling. Awesome. Inspiring. Those are words Nancy uses to describe her volunteering experience at InMotion. She enjoys the positive, inclusive spirit of InMotion, and is inspired watching clients make physical gains that “build confidence and grit.”

Prior to volunteering, Nancy taught 5th grade in Shaker Heights.

There are not enough words to describe how amazed and grateful we are for the dedication, compassion, and generosity of our amazing volunteers. We extend a big thank you to each and every one of you for helping people with Parkinson’s disease feel better every day.

InMotion is always looking for dedicated and reliable volunteers to help us at the front desk and to help out as volunteer coaches in our classes. If you are interested in volunteering at InMotion, contact Debbie Rossman at 216.342.4190 or by emailing [email protected].

Posted in For Care Partners, For Clients, For Donors, For Referral Partners, News.

Barb Baird