PICTURE THE HUB: GIVING TIME
Editor's note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
I first started volunteering I guess when my children started school in the late 1970s. My children went to school at St. Andrews and I sort of got involved and cooked hot dogs in the kitchen on Hot Dog Day and, you know, Catholic schools, tons of fundraisers, flea market, etc. I was president of the parents guild at St. Andrews one year, Assistant Girl Scout leader and chaired the cookie sales and survived the camping trips and I was the basketball mom for the team. I worked in the school store at Immaculate Heart when my daughter went there. Class mother at St. John's when my son went there. But even before children, I had been senior class president at Holy Name nursing school and then much later I co-chaired a class reunion. Also, I'm on the Alumni Board of Directors for the Alumni Association at Holy Name.
In 2017 Chris Montana encouraged me to come to a Senior Advisory Committee meeting just see if I'd be interested. We were in the room about five minutes and in comes the mayor to swear us into the committee! So I became deputy chairwoman and I was the liaison to borough activities. And this is now my second year of being chairwoman of the committee.
As a representative of the Senior Advisory Committee we try to give guidance or point somebody in the right direction and people just always seem to be very grateful. Which is, you know, what we keep trying to address with the seniors, you know, in the community trying to reach all of them. And of course, there's always some who are very happy to hear you and I think that's always an incentive to keep working. You know, if you can just help one person once in a while, you know, that it really makes it all worthwhile and everybody is just so lovely, and it's fun. It really is.
My tip for people looking to volunteer – don't hesitate – you’ll always get back more than you give. I have found most people, most of the times, very welcoming, and accepting. And I think no matter if it's volunteering, or joining an organization, people are always hesitant, you know, and there are certain people who don't want to see anybody new. We all know that, but they're few and far between. I do a lot of activities at the Westwood Recreation Forever Young program. If we see a new person walk in the room, one of us gets up and says “Hi!” do you want to play or you want to learn or, you know, why did you come today and that sort of thing! You know, it's just rewarding and it's fun and all the friendships and connections you make, it just really makes volunteering and participating worthwhile.
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