Monday, October 21, 2013

Volunteering with the Silver Spring Village

On October 20th the Silver Spring Village held a 'coming out party' event at the Civic Biulding. Mae Novak, Vice President and Volunteer Committee Chair gave some wonderful remarks that merit 'logging in' this blog.

[for more info on the Silver Spring Village, visit ]

Thank you, and welcome

Show of hands: How many of you have volunteered before—any place, any time, in any capacity? How many can remember their FIRST volunteer experience? How did that make you feel? Good? Great? Warm and fuzzy?

[Western Union telegram beeps]: Dateline, Helena Montana Spring 1961. Place: Easter Seals office. A very young (well, young) Mae Jacobson stuffed envelopes with Easter Seal stickers. Fun! Sense of fulfillment! I don’t think I knew the actual word “volunteer” for another 4 or 5 years…but clearly remember the experience.

[Western Union telegram beeps] Dateline, Silver Spring Maryland Fall 2011. Roberta Gosier called me and asked if I wanted to volunteer for an emerging senior Village. Yes! I told her – I’d love to help people age in place by helping put up holiday decorations in people’s homes. 2 years later, the Village has opened, and I’m waiting for the first Village Member to call asking for this assistance. If you become a member – remember that this service is out there for free!  Inside decor only!
So how do Village volunteers help Village members?  They start by applying to BE volunteers. They complete a volunteer interest form and tell us what they – the volunteer – would like to do for Village members. There are many choices: small household repairs, plant care, running errands, doing friendly check-ins or visits, light yard work or cleaning, assisting with bill paying, help with computers/electronics, and – one of the most requested services across the region and country – providing transportation for medical appointments, social events, etc. Note that our volunteer interest form has a space for “other” – we don’t know every possible interest a volunteer might have, so again, the volunteer tells the Village what service(s) they would like to do. We also have need for volunteers to assist with running the Village by answering the office phone, mailing or emailing forms and information, helping with event planning and logistics, doing publicity and helping with fundraising.  Once we determine what the volunteer would LIKE to do, we check their references, do a background (NOT a credit) check, and train the volunteer for the Village-specific tasks they want to do.   VOILA! The volunteer is ready to start. With 30 members and nearly 40 volunteers enrolled just three weeks since the Silver Spring Village opened on September 29th, we’re not just “ready”, we’re volunteering!

RECENT EXAMPLES of services that volunteers have provided to members include: parcel pick-up service for Members travelling out of town, assisting a Member with putting boxes in the attic, and helping a Member de-clutter after a move.

So volunteers tell US what they would like to do, and we match them with services that members request.  It’s like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups : nothing goes together like peanut butter and chocolate, and nothing goes together like volunteers and members.
In closing – I found a few quotes (via Google) about volunteers:

Time is valuable, volunteers are invaluable

Volunteers don’t just do the work – they MAKE it work

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth – Muhammed Ali

Volunteers aren’t paid because they are worthless, but rather because they are PRICELESS.

A pessimist sees a glass of water as being half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. A giving person (a volunteer) sees the same glass of water and starts looking around for a person who might be thirsty.

A great story about Margaret Mead, the anthropologist:  A reporter asked Margaret about what the first thing was that she looked at in an ancient civilization – thinking that she would answer “a tool” or “a piece of pottery or clothing”. To the reporter’s surprise she said  “a healed femur” (the large bone in your leg), and here is how she explained her answer: “ When someone breaks a femur they can’t survive to hunt, fish or escape enemies unless someone helps them. Thus a healed femur indicates that someone provided that help rather than abandoning them.”  Volunteering right here in Silver Spring for our neighbors, helps heal “broken femurs” of one sort or another.

So come see our volunteers at the volunteer and membership information table in the other room after the close of our program. Have something to eat, enjoy the music, and learn about how you can be a part of the Silver Spring Village. Discover why some of the richest people on earth are not millionaires, they are VOLUNTEERS.  Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment