The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 2, 2010

Stephanie Denham: Agency volunteers fill big shoes

— What is a volunteer? Over the years, as an employee of the Area Agency on Aging, I have learned that a volunteer is one who puts others first.

The volunteers I have met have shown me that a volunteer helps others because he or she wants to, not because they have to. At our senior centers and central office we have volunteers who do a variety of duties. Our volunteers deliver homebound meals, carry lunch trays to congregate clients who are unable to stand in line, and serve coffee and tea to congregate clients. Also, several centers have volunteers who help with exercise classes. At our central office we have volunteers who have helped us move furniture, deliver the Senior Outlook to the Four-County area, help with fundraisers, and much more. Our volunteers do a variety of jobs for us and they always do it with a smile.   

Volunteers are people who willingly offer to help others do a job.  Some people volunteer because they know the person is unable to do it themselves or it may be that they just want to lend a helping hand. I have found a volunteer is the one who steps up and helps others.

Last month, I met several volunteers who did just that. They stepped up and helped our homebound clients who needed assistance with their noon meal.  At our second annual Zumba-thon, which was held at Memorial Hall in Joplin, we had three ladies who helped us. Cleo, Lynn and Nikki volunteered to be our Zumba leaders. They not only gave three hours of their time, they also choreographed some special dances, and led us through the fun-filled event. We raised over $5,000 for the homebound meal program.  Thanks ladies. It was so much fun; we are already looking forward to next year’s event. 

Also last month, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff from Joplin Firestone Complete Auto Care located in front of Northpark Mall. They generously offered to set up a fundraiser for our agency through their company. They donated a portion of their tire sales to the homebound meal program. They also sold balloons which were delivered to several homebound clients in the Joplin area. Tire Manager Judy Martin volunteered to ride along with one of the homebound meal routes from the Joplin center. Thanks to Judy and the staff at Firestone for all you did for our agency. 

This is just a small snippet of what our volunteers do for us on a daily basis. If you would like to join our team of volunteers, please contact your local senior center or contact our central office at 781-7562. See you soon!

Stephanie Denham is nutrition program director for the Area Agency on Aging.