On Volunteering . . .
by Villages Member, Michele Johnson
A corps of willing and reliable volunteers is the backbone of any non-profit organization, but this is especially true for Villages of Santa Fe. The founders, realizing the importance of having an engaged membership and wanting to keep dues as low as possible, wisely chose a volunteer model for the Santa Fe chapter. At the moment, Villages of Santa Fe members are a relatively healthy bunch, but we all know that circumstances can quickly change, and a substantial group of volunteers is the best hedge against members’ future needs.
What are some of the services volunteers can provide? You may need transportation or a “helping hand” to repair something in your home. Perhaps you would like someone to accompany you to a medical appointment. If you are homebound or recovering from illness or surgery, a volunteer can pay you a visit or provide meals. Your Village handbook has more detailed information on the many types of services provided. You are never alone as a member of Villages of Santa Fe, so don’t hesitate to ask for help anytime—it’s only a phone call away.
A member who recently requested help from Villages had this to say about her experience: “I scheduled a ride to an eye-doctor appointment. I’d been asked to surrender my driver’s license because of the results of a previous eye test, and I needed a second opinion. Needless to say, I was distraught because of this situation and I just had to tell someone about what was happening to me. The volunteer who came to pick me up listened patiently while I related the details. She was sympathetic and encouraging, and I immediately felt better. At the doctor’s office, she helped me fill out the paperwork, then accompanied me to the appointment. I felt secure, knowing that another person was there, listening to what the doctor said and asking pertinent questions. Afterwards, I took her to lunch, and what had begun as a scary day ended on a much higher note.”
For members’ peace of mind, volunteers who enter their homes or provide transportation are vetted through a background check service. Vetting is easily accomplished online by providing your basic information. If you’d like to become a vetted volunteer, contact Ann Church, who will initiate the process. Once you have received your clearance, Michelle Rothwell, Volunteer Coordinator, will enter you in the database, along with your preferences for various tasks and your availability. You are never obligated to provide a requested service—the choice is always yours to make.
Some of our volunteers may have wondered why they have not been called upon more often to provide services. There is a distinct advantage in having a large number of volunteers—the work load can be spread easily among the group, and no one feels over-burdened. Volunteers go on vacation, take breaks, or may find they have commitments or issues that prevent them from taking on certain assignments. Some may even re-locate and end their Villages connection. For all these reasons, we need to insure we have a robust group of volunteers at the ready. We do need you to accomplish this goal! We hope you will consider joining the ranks of our volunteer staff.
37 —vetted volunteers
61 —transportation services provided
28 —home visits made
25 —Helping Hands requests fulfilled
20 —people receiving services
124 — total services provided