Valena Dixon, a friend with lots of community connections, didn’t miss a beat when I asked her to recommend a group that might need volunteers. She quickly suggested FRIENDS Association for Children in Richmond. http://friendsassn.org/
She then invited me to one of the FRIENDS’ monthly luncheons to learn more about volunteering there. The highlight of the luncheon was when two dozen or so youngsters, all under the age of six, streamed into the lunch room and sang.
If a cute gaggle of singing children doesn’t make you want to volunteer, I don’t know what will. I’m signing up to volunteer at one of the three FRIENDS centers that serve children and their families.
America runs on volunteers. Nonprofit groups, places of worship, schools and even businesses rely on volunteers. Think about how volunteers touch people’s lives from infancy all the way to the other end of the life cycle.
Alexa Slonin, chaplain at Richmond’s Horizons Hospice, http://horizonshospice.org said hospice staff and volunteers work to improve a terminally ill person’s quality of life. The hospice offers assistance with community resources, provides volunteers to perform a variety of tasks and assists people spiritually through the dying process.
Slonin said volunteers are an essential part of hospice care. They can help with direct patient care, office assistance or community outreach.
Volunteers who go into a patient’s home may sit with the patient while the caregiver runs errands, may read to the patient, or play games with her.
Quinisha Johnson, 19, of Richmond said she volunteers at Horizons Hospice’s office because it helps her feel good about herself and she knows she’s helping others during a difficult time.
“I really enjoy the way it makes me feel inside when I know I’ve helped someone,” Johnson said. “Volunteering at a hospice is different because you feel like part of a family working together to make a better place for people who are passing away.”
There are all kinds of opportunities to volunteer. I recently met a group of dedicated volunteers at the USO Center at Richmond International Airport. They said their job is to make sure the military men and women who drop by the center get a little taste of home away from home. http://tinyurl.com/3qbny7b
The FRIENDS Association and Horizons, as well as most area groups, are always looking for quality volunteers. So as National Volunteers Week draws to a close, now is a good time for you to find the right volunteer opportunity that fits your time and your talents.
It’s not too late to help. HandsOn Greater Richmond http://www.handsonrva.org/ is a good place to start to find volunteer opportunities in our community.
And if you are one of the millions of women in America who is already volunteering, feel free to give a shout out to your volunteer place of choice and share why volunteering is an important part of your life.