Photo Credit: Joe Mengel
Carolina Meadows is a HOTBED of volunteers! Of course that comes as no surprise to anyone here. We have 25 Standing Committees and 49 Activity Groups, all of which are run by our own resident volunteers. That’s 74 functions, and if we assume an average of 10 members in each group, we can see a lot of activity in a community that has only about 600 residents in independent living.
Why do so many of us volunteer to lead and participate in these committees and activity groups? Certainly it’s not because we hope to make more money than the guy sitting next to us. Perhaps the biggest benefit is in knowing that we are making a difference. The intangible personal benefits—including pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment—are worthwhile reasons to serve. Beyond that, our volunteer service strengthens our community and helps to solve problems. I know that my own work in the Family Violence program helps that program carry out its mission without having to hire more staff. The participation of volunteers often allows the current staff, who have been working with battered women all day, get 8 hours of sleep. And mainly I hope that I am helping a person who finally has had the guts to call Family Violence and Rape Crisis (FVRC), helping her to break the chain of violence that has been ruining her life.
My work with Chatham Literacy is not quite as dramatic, but I realize it is definitely helping a hardworking employee improve her ability to converse with other employees and with our residents and management. We volunteers receive a great feeling of accomplishment when our students master difficult pronunciations and feel confident about conversing with others. We’re especially proud when our students become citizens!
We have heard of studies that show health benefits for older people who do volunteer work. It’s not hard to believe that the satisfaction and the pleasure we get when we help others helps us as well. LET’S KEEP VOLUNTEERING!