Happy to Help: I’ve Found Fulfillment in Volunteering

Happy to Help: I’ve Found Fulfillment in Volunteering

Since the age of 3, I’ve been attending Turnstone, a local organization that runs a center for children and adults with disabilities. Over the years, I’ve benefited from the many services and opportunities at Turnstone, including joining a cheer squad, attending teen socials, and participating in therapy and adult day service programs.

In recent years, I have embarked on a new adventure at this place that I have come to know so well: I am now a proud Turnstone volunteer.

I started small. I knew that I wanted to be more involved, so I asked one of the adult day service staff members if I could do anything to help her. She decided that my personality made me a good fit to lead a monthly morning activity. I soon fell into a routine of games — trivia, hangman, bingo — and calling out my friends for sleeping during their turns. It wasn’t long before the staff fondly declared me their “Mistress of Ceremonies,” a title that I love and take very seriously.

After a few months in this role, I decided to look for another way to help, so I rolled across the hall to the memory care department. After a brief discussion with the staff, they suggested I come once a month to read aloud to the clients. I arrived at the department armed with a large book of fairy tales. I show up every month to read and chat with my new friends. It makes me smile to see the joy that my stories and conversation bring to them.

I continued volunteering for about a year before seeking further opportunities at Turnstone. I was looking for something to fill the time I usually spend at home. That’s when I learned that the center needed help with fundraising. I had a little experience with raising money for various organizations and was excited for a chance to use my abilities to give back to a place that has helped me so much.

My outgoing personality made me the perfect woman for the job, and I was quickly put to work on an upcoming fundraiser: making calls and sending emails to ask for donations of prizes for auctions and raffles. This position has grown since I started. There’s nothing like seeing the events that I’ve worked on become successful.

Each of my volunteer roles has blessed me differently: I’ve gotten to work with amazing people, been given the gift of serving my friends and fellow clients, and been rewarded with seeing memory care clients recognize me when I walk in the door. I’ve found a passion for fundraising that I didn’t know I had.

I never know what to expect when I begin each volunteer day, but what I do expect every time is an adventure. I always expect the day to be filled with laughter, memories, and joy. I always expect that I will have the opportunity to affect the lives of the people around me. And lastly, I always expect to end my day with an immense sense of blessing and fulfillment.

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