On December 5, the management and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre hosted a Volunteer Appreciation party.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to thank each and every one of our 45 volunteers and to tell them how much we appreciate the giving of their love, time and talents to brighten up and enrich the lives of our residents,” said Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreation Programmes.
The care centre’s volunteers are very rarely all together in one place at the same time, so they all had a great time meeting people they didn’t know. To help break the ice, each volunteer drew the name of another volunteer, then had to find that person and ask them a few ‘who are you’ questions. Everyone then introduced their ‘new friend’ to the rest of the group amidst much merriment and fun. By the time all the introductions were made, it seemed like many people had a new buddy!
In a short address, Debbie acknowledged that each volunteer contributes to the lives of the care centre residents in their own unique way. Some run programmes, some assist with activities, some visit elders on a one-on-one basis, while still others work especially with residents living with dementia. But the most important contribution that the volunteers make is the energy, warmth and caring that they bring to the care centre, and the connections they make with the residents who are elderly and frail.
She went on to say that according to certain sources, we, as a society, are apparently lonelier than we ever have been. And at the care centre, there are many residents who are at that stage in life where their friends and spouses are no longer with them and their children/grandchildren may live overseas, which sometimes creates a lonely and isolating situation.
There are so many older people who long for deep and engaging communication and connection with another human being. And that’s where the care centre’s volunteers come in. When they take the time to give someone their full attention; when they exchange life stories and try to get to know who the individual is as a person, they are adding something that is so precious and vital to the well-being of the resident.
With speeches over and each volunteer having been recognised and thanked, it was time for lunch. Following an Indian theme, volunteer Sherill Singh catered for the event and served two kinds of samosas for starters; followed by two kinds of chicken curry and rice with chutney and cucumber raita; vegetable biryani; and a green salad and carrot salad. The spicy richness of the curries was then cooled down with a dessert of Cornetto Classic ice creams!
The lunch was declared delicious and all the volunteers expressed their appreciation for a wonderful gathering and for the opportunity to connect, have fun and meet new people.
A toast was proclaimed:
“To each and every one of our star volunteers both present & absent, Rand Aid toasts you and wishes you good health, strength and ability to continue being a friend to our residents. May the love and joy that you give out, be returned to you many times over!”
For more information on the volunteer programme at Rand Aid: email Debbie Christen at firstname.lastname@example.org