Interviewed by Maria Gurovich for The Island Connection
Editor’s Note: The Volunteer Spotlight is a new column in The Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email email@example.com.
We are from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Actually, Dave is originally from Kentucky but he moved to Illinois.
When Dave and I first met, I was a recent widow. My husband died when the youngest of our four children was only a year old. Dave had two children of his own. Dave and I met at work and dated, but it was not until I found another job, that we decided to become a couple. When we combined our households, we had six children. Now we have four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. We love children.
We first came to South Carolina twenty years ago, in 1993, for a family vacation. It was then that we decided to purchase a retirement home on Seabrook. In January of 1994, we moved to South Carolina and started settling into our new home. Soon after we moved, we heard about Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. I started helping out at the reception desk, the food pantry, and clothing room. Sometime in 1996, after talking to one of the sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, I started volunteering with the “Yes I Can” After School Program. Around that same time, Dave decided to get involved as well. We have been with the program ever since, 18 years as of January.
I love volunteering with the Outreach. I enjoy having the ability to make an impact on children’s lives. Often, the children do not get much support at home. It is so rewarding to see the children grow up and do so well. Most of them go on to live successful and productive lives.
I think you can make a positive impact in a child’s life when they see that you are interested. Children are encouraged when they know you are invested in their future. I hope that more volunteers will become involved with the program in the future. With more volunteers, we will be able to spend more one on one time with each child, get to know them, their situation, and what they struggle with the most.
I think volunteering is important because when willing people come together, new ideas are born. As a volunteer, you can do so much, no matter how you decide to get involved. It is also nice to learn new things, meet new people and, most importantly, make a positive impact on someone’s life and not get stagnant in your own life.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach serves James Island, Johns Island, Wadmalaw Island and The Neighborhood House of Charleston. For more information on how to get involved call 843.559.4109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.