Elizabeth Vaughan, Neighbors Who Care
Neighbors Who Care is a unique organization, because Sun Lakes has a unique population. With no city services, a need presented itself 25 years ago, and Sun Lakes congregants responded. A group of churches created Neighbors Who Care to assist homebound seniors with grocery shopping and household duties that they had difficulty managing. As the word spread, more requests began to pour in, and a continuous search for willing volunteers began. A quarter century later, it continues into 2020.
Yes, we are always asking. And it works to ask… folks who find themselves with a few extra hours in their week will consider coming in for orientation, knowing they can help on their own schedule without any specific commitment. Others hear us ask and think of a friend or neighbor who would be a perfect candidate to help a senior neighbor get to their medical appointments. Recently on Nextdoor.com, someone posted a message asking about volunteer opportunities in our community. It was wonderful to see many replies recommending Neighbors Who Care.
We need a constant stream of new volunteers, as we always add more new clients than we do volunteers to serve them every month. Many of our volunteers transition into clients as they age, while others move away or find themselves caring for a spouse full time.
One of the most impressive things about our organization is the lifespan of our volunteers. Our office volunteers (two-person team, one receptionist, one scheduler) typically work one day a week for four hours. Most of these folks have been with NWC for well over a year and many have eight or more years under their belt. Volunteering here is a big part of their lives, bringing them satisfaction and long-lasting friendships as well. Without them, we could not operate.
But we constantly face challenges. First, we experience a HUGE deficit of volunteers over the summer months. NWC clients typically stay here all year, but many of our volunteers spend those months traveling. Similarly, we are faced with volunteer shortages during the holidays due to volunteer travel plans. Considering how lonely the holidays can be for people without family nearby, it’s heartbreaking to not be able to provide services to vulnerable clients this time of year. We never want to say no to a client who needs help.
Can’t volunteer? Here are five ways to bring new volunteers to NWC:
1. Talk us up—Share our mission of service to vulnerable seniors in Sun Lakes and South Chandler with your network of friends and family.
2. Follow and like and post comments on our Facebook page (@VolunteerChandler) and Twitter feed (@CareNeighbors). This helps us recruit volunteers online!
3. Share your Care Connection newsletter with a friend.
4. Share our website address (www.neighborswhocare.com).
5. Make a donation.
As always, thanks to all our wonderful supporters. We are proud to continue to serve our unique community in 2020 and for many years to come.