By Maria Gurovich for The Island Connection
Editor’s Note: Volunteer Spotlight is a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Volunteer, Diane Boyer, grew up on a farm in Iowa, went to college in Sioux City, then graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois in Chicago, respectively. She started out as a biology teacher in high school and college. Later, she made a career change and got a BSN in nursing and a Master’s Degree as a nurse midwife.
For thirty years, she taught and worked as a midwife in inner-city Chicago and internationally in Central America and Africa before she retired. Her education gave her the knowledge and skills that enabled her to be helpful to the women and families she cared for there.
She’s married with two children, has five grandchildren and a new baby great-granddaughter. For fun, she loves to read, cook, and host parties.
Always involved in giving back to the community, Diane was a docent at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago for several years and has always been very active in her professional organization, the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Since her retirement, she has had the time to do more volunteer work. She just finished a term as Chair of the National Accreditation Board for graduate programs in midwifery. In addition to teaching English as a Second Language at OLMCS, she also volunteers as a nurse at the Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island. Diane is also active in the Charleston Area Justice Ministry and in many activities at the Unitarian Church.
After retiring, but before moving to Charleston in 2008, Diane taught ESL in the Chicago area. She recalls, “I enjoyed that [teaching], and looked online for a similar opportunities here. Teaching small classes of motivated adults who are in class because they want to learn is a very positive teaching experience.” Through her involvement as a tutor, Diane has met many great people, including another volunteer who has become one of her best friends in Charleston.
She strongly believes that education can have the greatest positive effect and open up many opportunities. “I’m the daughter of an Iowa farmer with an 8th grade education, but I had the chance to get two baccalaureate degrees, two master’s degrees and a PhD,” Diane states, with gratitude for the opportunity.
Perseverance and education enabled her to earn enough to have a comfortable life and have many interesting life experiences. Her professional life as a midwife was spent in inner-city Chicago, with some work in Central America and Africa. Her education gave her the knowledge and skills that enabled her to be helpful to the women and families she cared for there.
She likes to think that the care she gave many women, especially the many teenagers she cared for, enabled them to have a positive pregnancy and birth experience. She also taught many midwifery and nurse-practitioner students, and take satisfaction in the great work many of them are doing.
“I recently encountered a former student of mine who had just earned her PhD and is doing some important women’s health research. She had kind things to say about the positive influence I had had in her education and career choices,” smiles Diane.
To those who are thinking about getting involved she would say “Just do it! You’ll find that the satisfaction you gain will be at least equal to the help you provide. There are many volunteer opportunities available–choose something that is interesting to you and get involved.”
For more information on how to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach contact Maria Gurovich via phone (843) 559-4109 or email email@example.com.