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Village News for April 19, 2024

From Frank.....

Next week is Volunteer Appreciation Week.  The Village movement was founded on the concept that neighbors want to help neighbors, as volunteers.  It was a concept that drew me to the Village because there’s something very impactful when witnessing a volunteer providing a service to another.  What’s not often talked about is how volunteering also benefits, perhaps changes, the volunteer.  I remember being a teenager and volunteering to call Bingo at what we then called “the nursing home.”  As I called the Bingo, I thought I’d be creative and really draw out naming the letter and number.  It went something like, “B twenty……yep, that’s B like the Bumble, and the number twenty….twenty ONE!”  Then all hell broke loose as someone yelled, “B20!” and someone else yelled, “What number did you call?”, and another said, “BingoB21!”  I was a disastrous Bingo caller!  I was focused on what, in my opinion, would make the afternoon more fun rather than focusing on what the Bingo players needed or wanted.  That is, a clear, simple, and loud Bingo caller.

I learned a lot about volunteering that day, including perhaps most importantly, that it’s important to focus on what the person being served actually needs (such as a clear and loud Bingo number!) I see our volunteers doing this every week through the many rides, visits, and errands that are undertaken. I also learned that some things can quickly go awry, despite the best of intentions.  In that regard, a good sense of humor is important for everyone involved and helps to get on the right path forward. Finally, forty years later, I’ll always remember the hug that one of the residents gave me that day, despite my creating mayhem that day.  Her appreciation, and our brief yet very real connection, fueled me then and now to reach out and to serve others.  I, as the volunteer, get something real and powerful out of the experience too.  And that’s OK.  

So, thank you to all of our volunteers!  On behalf of the board, staff, and most importantly, the older adults that you serve, know that your service is greatly appreciated.

P.S. Next week is also Passover. To all those celebrating, we wish you a Happy Pesach.


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