How long have you been volunteering for Maryhurst?
I started volunteering July 2011 (the year my youngest graduated High School).
Why do you volunteer?
Because it’s good for me. Anytime I can get out of my head and do something for someone else I’m happier.
Why do you choose to donate your time to Maryhurst?
Because this organization is doing a lot of good for so many young girls. Granted there is still much more that can be done. I remember how tough it was to be a teenager and I came from a stable loving family. I can just imagine how hard it is for these girls especially at a time when so much is changing for them physically and emotionally. If they are getting their values from TV and music then this can’t be constructive. In our “anything goes” society where people don’t see the consequences of poor behavior/choices this will set them up for a very tough life. Everyone needs boundaries and has a responsibility to themselves and others. We need to look out for one another and learn it’s not all about “me”.
Can you share an experience with Maryhurst that made you realize you were making a difference?
Hmmmm…..an experience? I can’t say that I have had a specific experience to share but I can tell you what my goal is for making a difference in my young friends life.
These girls remind me of the scene from Rudolph where they came upon “The Island of Forgotten Toys”. And the thing is, it’s not their fault. What I try to do is be CONSISTENT. My “Yes is a Yes” and my “No is a No”. I try to build up her confidence by helping her to see what she’s good at. I encourage her to talk about herself, to share her likes and dislikes. Unfortunately she’s been in survival-mode for so long that her life-view is very narrow. She isn’t even aware that she has many choices. My role is to broaden her landscape by sharing different activities with her. Our first year together we helped the local Pet Store walk dogs that are for sale/adoption. She really enjoyed this. The next 6 months we spent one afternoon a week playing games and doing crafts with Seniors at a retirement center.
What my young friend needs is good friendly relationships. She needs to have people pay attention to her, be interested in her (…Heck, don’t we all?) and hopefully she’ll grow to trust them.
What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Just DO IT! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. You dictate when you are available. These girls are so sweet they just need that little “extra” attention to help them see that they are special and they have something to contribute. It’s neat to see them gain confidence. Just a bit of guidance and a friend that understands will carry over into their daily life. They grow to look forward to that time together.
I’ve come to realize that I have so much to learn from people who are different than me.
What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I’m a Medical Technologist (Microbiology/Chemistry) at Norton Audubon Hospital where I work 4 days a week. I also like to Dabble in the Arts.