The "Give & Get" of Volunteering

by Monica Eorgoff, Director of Volunteer Services

     One of the most common activities people turn to when they want an enriching experience is volunteering. Most people who volunteer will tell you that the rewards and benefits are many, and that’s what keeps them coming back. And they become very valuable members of an organization.    

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization,and CJE is no exception. In honor of our corps of volunteers, we’d like to recognize their incredible contributions and spirit. CJE volunteers have spent countless hours augmenting the work of staff by helping to serve our senior community. Whether it is leading a current events group at Lieberman Center, or delivering a hot meal to a homebound senior, CJE volunteers embody our mission of facilitating independence of older adults and enhancing their quality of life.

CJE is fortunate to have many dedicated long-term volunteers. These engaged volunteers benefit CJE in many ways by promoting CJE in the community. Whether it’s donating their time or donating services, regular volunteers take pride in CJE. They are our brand champions who want to help us as much as they can. They also offer valuable feedback.

Unfortunately, statistics show that since 2001 (when  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking this), fewer Americans are now volunteering. That’s why CJE’s regular long-term volunteers are very special and we appreciate them more than ever.

Also, the volunteer population is different from that of even a decade ago. For example, potential volunteers are busier than ever. For many, economic conditions necessitate that they continue working longer than they had planned. Others need to return to work after raising their children. Many potential volunteers are also part of the “sandwich generation,”
attending to the needs of both aging parents and children.

Additionally, Boomers on the verge of retirement are looking for different experiences in their later years than their parents had. They are looking for volunteer opportunities in which they can make a meaningful contribution in a limited amount of time. Their focus is on quality, not quantity.

Thus, nowadays, for those wanting to volunteer, “episodic” volunteer experiences are the most desirable because they are able to fulfill their civic duty while not requiring a significant time commitment. Therefore, we face the challenge of engaging regular volunteers on a continuing basis.  However, we have found that volunteers who come to “know” CJE like us so much and are so fulfilled that  they usually do commit for the long term.

Volunteer Stories

Eva Sern has been providing her time and energy to Robineau Residence for over twenty years. Eva’s familiarity with CJE began when her father-in-law was a resident at Robineau. After his passing,  she volunteered in a variety of ways including  accompanying residents on field trips, and playing Bingo and Scrabble with them. Eva takes great satisfaction in her volunteer commitment to CJE:  “I like to see the residents enjoying their game of Scrabble. My sense of satisfaction is derived from knowing that I have helped someone. I feel useful.”

Gina Simon began volunteering a few years ago upon her graduation from college. Gina’s grandmother had been a resident at Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation.
This sparked Gina’s interest in working with seniors. “The friendly relationships I have developed with both residents  and staff make me feel good about what I do. The skills I have developed through volunteering at CJE should assist me in my job search.”

Eva and Gina are just two of CJE’s dedicated volunteers who contribute so much to the quality of life of our residents and program participants. CJE volunteers are instrumental in everything we do, and last year, CJE volunteers provided nearly $1.4 million in services. We thank them for making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Why not join our dedicated corps of volunteers? It’ll be enriching for you and avaluable service for us! To find out more about volunteering at CJE SeniorLife call 847.929.3040 or email (link sends e-mail).