Hedy Peyser

Hedy Peyser

A look back...and ahead

Hedy Peyser, VolunteersWhat tops Hedy Peyser's list of favorite recollections of more than 40 years as director of Volunteers? It is the day Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor came for a visit. 

"It took a year of arranging," said Hedy, but when Ms. Taylor's publicist called with the go-ahead, news of the star's impending arrival flew through the Home. By the time Ms. Taylor made her entrance into the Wasserman Residence, the Social Hall was packed.

"I had never seen so many people,” Hedy recalled. “We were surrounded! I think every resident called their families to come in." And, she adds, Elizabeth Taylor was "gorgeous and as gracious as could be," particularly when a resident asked, "Dear Elizabeth, can you please tell us about your jewels?"

From the early 1970s, Hedy ran the operation of a volunteer corps numbering in the hundreds. Her award-winning initiatives ranged from the inclusion of individuals with special needs to the intergenerational Lessons of a Lifetime Ethical Will Project™, a doula program, and the Patient Service Representative Program. As a result of her efforts, Charles E. Smith Life Communities received national recognition and Hedy earned a listing in Who's Who Among Human Services Professionals, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who in the East.

Hedy has had a life-changing impact on the countless students she mentored. "It's hard to teach someone how to care,” she said, “but when I saw it happening, I nurtured it." Many of these students, inspired by their experiences, have chosen careers in the healthcare and counseling professions.

What's next for Hedy? “No more waking up at 5:30 a.m. to tackle a mountain of responsibilities,” she said grinning. “I do have a life outside of work, you know, and I can’t wait to return to the hobbies and interests I’ve put on hold for so long. My time will now be my own.” 

 

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