By Marguerite Langlois
I became a member of the Village about a year and a half ago, to support the new community and to support my commitment to myself to stay in my home as I age. It didn’t take long for me to discover ways I could get help, like emptying a room before it was remodeled, or doing things on step ladders, which I don’t do anymore, or getting help finding reliable contractors. I also met new friends at the potlucks. And I’ve been able to contribute as well, by writing for the Village blog and teaching at the Greenwood Senior Center.
Then, about three months ago, I fell, seriously injured my neck and shoulder, and was suddenly unable to drive. I not only couldn’t do things like getting groceries or running errands or doing personal business, I also had multiple medical appointments to deal with. I sent off requests to Liz (our amazing AmeriCorps volunteer), and, one by one, volunteers arrived at my home to get me where I needed to be. And these weren’t just rides…they were great chances to meet new people and enjoy good conversation…at a time when usual chances for that in my life were diminished. A volunteer also came to my home to help with some clearing and sorting and rearranging that I had planned to do myself and could no longer do.
I’m doing better now, but an injury like mine can quickly diminish your life. I don’t know what I would have done without the Village in my life these past few weeks. Instead of being cut off and shut in, I find myself in the middle of a village…a group of people caring, sharing, and expanding my life. I intend to be a lifelong member!
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A note from Liz Waesche, our AmeriCorps volunteer:
The PNA Village would be nothing without our wonderful volunteers! As the Village continues to grow, our group of volunteers needs to grow with it, especially our group of Village Drivers. Village Drivers have a huge impact on the health and well-being of members. Drivers use their own vehicles to transport Village Members to doctors’ appointments, the grocery store, to movies, and everywhere in-between (as long as the ride is within Seattle City limits). Some, but not all, drivers lift wheel chairs or walkers into a car or trunk. Volunteers choose when or how often they want to drive. In 2013, the Village Drivers provided members with 138 rides, so drivers are definitely in high demand!
So, if you know someone who has made it their New Year’s resolution to spend more time volunteering or who loves driving, contact Liz, 206.789.1217, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It takes less than an hour to become a Village Driver, but the impact on a member can be felt for a long time.