The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 7, 2010

Jennifer Foraker: Make a difference and volunteer your time

Praise be to Mother Nature, spring has been sprung! And as far as I’m concerned it hasn’t come a moment too soon.

After a long, drawn out siege, Old Man Winter finally packed up his bags and left the area. April is now here, along with all the signs of spring. We now have gloriously warm, sunny days that you don’t want to ever end.

Daffodils and forsythia bushes are blooming in a mass of golden profusion. The aroma of freshly cut grass is wafting in the breeze and tantalizing the nose. The store shelves are filled with Easter eggs and baskets in every pastel shade and color of the rainbow. What more do you need to banish the winter blues?     

April is also National Volunteer Month. A definition of a volunteer is: one who enters into, or offers for, any service of his own free will. There is always a need for volunteers especially in the long-term care facilities. There are many areas and opportunities for volunteers, such as becoming an ombudsman volunteer and being an advocate for elder rights. You could simply volunteer to scoop ice cream once a month at an ice-cream social or play the piano for residents during their lunch time.

Volunteers could read books to individuals or start a book club, help plant vegetable gardens or just bring in bouquets of flowers. The possibilities are virtually endless. No matter what the area of volunteering, the feeling of helping make a difference in someone’s life can be a very rewarding and satisfying choice to make.