Your time and service is as valuable as ever.
Volunteering is not only an important part of our social fabric, it is also a source of personal growth, especially later in life. Research shows that people who volunteer live longer and are healthier and happier than their non-volunteering counterparts. Volunteering initiatives across a range of important causes bring Spectrum residents together and provide opportunities for interaction across generations. Here are eight Spectrum communities doing good for themselves and others.
RIGDEN FARM SENIOR LIVING, FORT COLLINS, CO
Many of the residents at Rigden Farm have volunteered for most of their lives, and they aren’t stopping now. One group has started collecting toiletries and other essentials for veteran patients at the VA hospitals. Retired Colonel Louis Bonin and former army nurse Skip Johnson are leading the charge: “It’s just so nice to continue giving back at any age, and we need to support our veterans,” says Johnson. Rigden residents have filled and donated 50 coffee mugs full of toiletries and other goods. Regina Trapp, the project’s organizer, hopes to fill and donate many more before the start of the holiday season.
PALOS VERDES SENIOR LIVING, PEORIA, AZ
Sometimes one resident can inspire an entire community. That’s what happened when Lucille, a resident at Palos Verdes, decided to help the homeless community in Peoria. Together with the Palos Verdes HUGS committee, Lucille encouraged residents, staff and their families to save their plastic shopping bags. Several times a week, a group of Palos Verdes volunteers cut the bags into strips and roll the strips into yarn or “plarn” that another resident crochets into sleeping mats. Over the summer, residents and even several local teens joined together to work on the craft while socializing and sharing stories. Now that they’re back in school, the teens have recruited peers from local youth organizations including National Jr. Honor Societies and Girl Scouts to help with the project.
PINE RIDGE OF GARFIELD, CLINTON TOWNSHIP, MI
Resident Mary Albrecht is a committed volunteer within the Pine Ridge of Garfield community, which she has called home for six years. She serves on the HUGS committee, sending cards and greetings to new residents, and Mary needlepoints a small frame with a poem or welcome message for each new resident. She also volunteers in the community store, where residents can buy ice cream, candy, snacks, soap, tissues, batteries and other essentials.
THREE OAKS ASSISTED LIVING, CARY, IL
Residents at Three Oaks teamed up with Girl Scout Troop 1347 to make a rainbow of fleece blankets that were donated to the pediatric floor of a local hospital. Led by Girl Scout Rachel Stanley, the project brought two generations together for a common cause. When the project was complete, the Girl Scouts returned to Three Oaks with lap robes they had made to keep residents warm during the upcoming winter months. Starting this November, Three Oaks residents have been preparing dessert every Monday night for the homeless men, women and children who eat and sleep at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church throughout the winter. The church is part of a network that provides the homeless with meals and shelter.
PARKROSE ESTATES RETIREMENT COMMUNITY, LIVERPOOL, NY
Once a month, residents from Parkrose go to the local Meals on Wheels headquarters where they decorate cupcakes that are distributed with the meals.
RIGDEN FARM SENIOR LIVING, FORT COLLINS, AND LINCOLN MEADOWS SENIOR LIVING, PARKER, CO
They call themselves the Mad Hatters. This women’s groups meet every Friday to knit wool hats for therapy and charity. According to Cille Jacobson, one of the newest knitters, Rigden has donated 4,000 hats to schools and charities across the country and even overseas since 2010. The Lincoln Meadows Mad Hatters formed in early 2013, but already have 15 committed volunteers. In addition to knitting hats, they spent the summer collecting backpacks and school supplies for kids in the Douglas County School District and the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver.
VILLAS OF SHELBY, SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MI
In May, Villas of Shelby residents collected an impressive $1,260 during the Walk, Roll and Run-A-Thon. An event dreamed up by John Makowski, a medical student who moonlights as a server at the community, and Director of Fun, Tonya Wilson. Residents, staff and family members ranging from 10 to 99 years of age, collected pledges and then did laps—some walked, some pushed walkers, some rolled wheelchairs and some drove scooters—around the Villas building. All of the money raised was donated to The Rainbow Connection, a local nonprofit that grants wishes to terminally ill children.
HOMESTEAD AT HICKORY VIEW, WASHINGTON, MO
The Homestead Stitchers is a group of committed quilters who make blankets and stuffed animals for nearby Grace’s Place, a resource for children in crisis. Each child who arrives at Grace’s Place receives a quilt or animal to comfort him or her during overnight stays. The Homestead Stitchers meet weekly or more in the room of one of the residents. When the quilts are completed, they’re displayed for the other residents to see before they are handed over to Grace’s Place.
By Dawn Carr