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.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.