For 73-year-old Lois Gullot, being active and constantly busy is just a part of her lifestyle.
The Schenectady resident, who attends aerobics, spinning and trains at least three days a week, does not let anything slow her down-- not even arthritis and a hip replacement.
“I think moving is the key to aging well. It is the key to healthy,” Gullot said. “And it is just fun. It keeps my energy level very high.”
A retired teacher, Gullot is extremely active in the community too by volunteering and holding positions on various boards. She was on the board for the Schenectady Day Nursery for six years after joining in 2003.
“She has a great personality,” Diane Fisher, the director of Schenectady Day Nursery said. “She is very warm and caring and automatically everyone migrates to her.”
Whether it is organizing dinners or educational classes for the young children, Gullot said the Nursery is her passion.
“I have remained active with them because it is a great place for kids,” she said. “And it is very necessary for the working poor. It is a necessary building, a necessary establishment.”
Gullot got the volunteering bug back in the 70s when she started volunteering with Schenectady Youth Hockey where her son played. She would bring coffee to the early morning practices and give it out to parents. Eventually, people started leaving her money for the coffee and she decided to add bagels to the mix. Before she knew it, she was making $500 a day for the hockey program selling coffee and bagels.
“It paid for a lot of ice time,” she said.
But Gullot’s volunteer and community involvement extends beyond the ice rink and Nursery. Gullot joined the Schenectady County Medical Alliance in 1968. Her husband of 48 years, who she has four children and seven grandchildren with, Richard Gullot, is a retired physician. All physicians wives were eligible and therefore she joined.
One of the things she is most proud of when it comes to the Alliance is the program they helped establish with local florists and Price Chopper, that is now a state wide program.
“It is a Prom time project,” she said. “We give them ‘Think, Don’t Drink’ cards and they are put in the corsages.”
The ‘Think, Don’t Drink’ cards are also sometimes attached to Prom invitations. Gullot said, the cards then reach the students directly and are a reminder on prom night the dangers of underage drinking.
“It is now adopted by the state,” she said.
She also has been a member of Zonta Club of Schenectady for 10 years, an international service group of businesswomen, dedicated to improving the status of women worldwide. There is several clubs throughout the country and one in Schenectady. The clubs are dedicated to volunteering, fundraising, service and fellowship.
“It is truly impressive,” Gullot said.
She is the educational chair for the local Zonta Club and some of her duties include providing scholarships to high school women dedicated to service and humanitarian issues.
“We are trying to promote public service,” she said. “Women going into public service.”
Among others, she is a member of the Catholic Charities Guild, chairwoman of the Medical Alliance memorial loan fund, she was involved with the Medical Alliance at the state level as a corresponding secretary, through Zonta she is involved with a local home for disabled female veterans and was on a little committee helping clear a long-neglected garden on Lafayette and Liberty Street near the Police Station.
But, she said humbly, she is most proud of the work she has done at Schenectady Day Nursery.
“Probably the parent education I did with the Day Nursery,” she said.
The parent education she would help put on is held at the Nursery a few times a year and garners between 30 to 90 people. Parents pick up the children before they go home and have a well balanced dinner provided by the Nursery followed by an educational program. The programs range from how to prepare your taxes to nutrition.
“She is wonderful, she has just added so much to the nursery,” Fisher said. “And even being off the board she stops by frequently.”
Gullot said she encourages others to get involved in their community as well.
“I do it because I enjoy it. I have great friends who also do it so it is a connection and things we do together. There is a need,” she said. “I think volunteerism is a very, very important part of my lifestyle.”