As we look forward to the new year, we are also looking back with gratitude at 2016. We are extremely lucky here at SRC to work with wonderful people and to know that the work we do matters. Every day we are inspired by those around us. Together we are creating the community where we want to live.
Our Volunteer Services Manager, Brandi Tamburelli, recently expressed her thoughts on this to our volunteers and we wanted to spread the message further.
New Year Manager’s Message
Those who care, who practice empathy and compassion, who speak for those who cannot, who see a world outside of themselves and value it, will be the ones who lead the world into a greater tomorrow.
This past year I have been privileged to work with such people and witness the incredible gift and power of the heart. Natural moments of people doing for other people settle in the spirit and inspire me to be a better person each day. In a climate of great uncertainty, such moments are priceless, to be held in a quiet place and taken out when our world gets overwhelming.
A couple of my favorite memories of this past year come from a home repair client and a family member of a former Adult Day participant. A home repair client called needing a grab bar in his bathroom near the toilet. He had been falling quite a bit and had spent several hours stuck on the commode when he was unable to get enough leverage to get up. He was finally able to reach his apartment manager to come and help him. This client was frustrated, embarrassed, and afraid to attend to a basic need when he reached out to Volunteers.
The handyman, first and foremost, treated him with dignity and compassion. A grab bar was installed, but later the same evening the client called in tears and said he had fallen again. The handyman went right out and purchased a toilet seat frame with arms so the client could use them to get upright off the commode. Such a small, simple thing. The client called me the following day, very emotional. He said that it had been so long since someone had cared enough to help find a solution that would decrease his fear and increase his dignity. He wanted everyone to know that he rested a bit easier having a simple fix in place that reduced this risk of a fall. He felt that he found a friend during the process.
A family member of a former Adult Day client was visiting SRC and shared with me that her father came here when the Adult Day Program was in the Aspen Room in our original building. This was long before the Adult Day and Respite Building was built. She said she struggled so much with all the emotion and responsibility that accompanies a dementia diagnosis. Because of the Adult Day Program, she was able to engage in some much needed self-care and take some caregiver classes. Through the staff, she learned so much about dementia, her father and herself. Her parting words to me were “I didn’t so much lose my father to Alzheimer’s as I redefined our relationship as father and daughter. In the end it was as beautiful a relationship as it had been before the dementia.”
I anticipate many more such moments in 2017, because I am constantly inspired and in awe of the many feats of SRC volunteers. Heartfelt thanks to all of you from the Volunteer Services Staff and Brandi Tamburelli, the SRC staff, Board of Directors, and John Zabawa, President and CEO.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in”.