by Holly Beck, Senior Services Volunteer Manager
Now, more than ever, I think of the many volunteers who haven’t been able to carry out their important roles as a result of the pandemic. Each staff member at Senior Services realizes that volunteers are not only a vital part of our ability to meet the needs of older adults in Forsyth County, but they are also a critical part of our team and our friends – we miss them. We miss seeing them in the building. We miss watching them interact with program participants. We miss witnessing and feeling the light and happiness they bring to so many lives.
When I think of the Senior Services volunteer family, I can’t help feeling encouraged, because I know that they will always step up to make life better for older adults in our community. We know that commitment will continue once it is safe to come back to service.
For nearly 60 years Senior Services volunteers have generously shared their time and talents in a variety of ways to help older adults in Forsyth County. Since joining Senior Services as the Volunteer Manager just over a year ago, I’ve witnessed a level of loving commitment from our volunteers that inspires me daily. The positive impact that volunteers made on not only our ability to serve program participants but on the very culture of our organization throughout 2019 and into 2020 is nearly impossible to state—but we’ve tried to provide a snapshot through our recently released volunteer impact flyer. I, along with the entire Senior Services staff want to thank each volunteer who has helped us continue our mission of helping older adults remain in their homes, living with dignity and aging with purpose. You make a tremendous impact and we are thrilled to celebrate and thank you!
Meals-on-Wheels volunteers make sure that over 1,200 seniors in our program receive a meal, a warm smile, and a true moment of human connection each weekday. At the Williams Adult Day Center volunteers help staff and engage participants through various activities such as assisting with crafts, playing games, serving lunch, bringing their friendly pets to visit, and joining in Kindermusik’s intergenerational Bridges program. The Connections program volunteers help reduce the social isolation many older adult experience by providing art lessons, technology help, phone calls, IMPROVment dance lessons, one-on-one visits, and plant deliveries.
2019 also saw an increase in administrative volunteers at Senior Services. People from a variety of backgrounds shared their experience and talents in areas such as accounting, engineering, data entry, filing, technology, and switchboard operations. Their participation supported our organization and staff to serve even more participants. In addition, individuals and groups volunteered to organize our item donations and supplies, clean and maintain our buildings inside and out, make cards and gift bags for seniors we serve, gather supplies, and coordinate activities for seniors.
When thinking of all that our volunteers do, I am reminded of a quote by Leo Buscaglia, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Hundreds of volunteers have impacted thousands of lives through their service. Similarly, I have heard from volunteers that the feeling is mutual. A smile and a kind word from a participant in our programs can brighten a volunteer’s day, as well.
We hope that once it becomes safer to do so, even more community residents will rally around one of the most vulnerable groups in our community to ensure that they continue to be honored and cared for through the best and worst of times. We invite you to review our Volunteer Impact flyer here and request that you join us in working to improve the lives of older adults in our community.