Every day, every month and almost every week there is a dedication. Maybe it’s Donut Day celebrated June 3, 2016, or Autism Awareness Month in April.
One of the best weeks for Community Living is Volunteer Week, which was celebrated April 10-16. Not only is this a time for us to say, “thank you” to the many volunteers that help with our organization, it is also a time to recognize the individuals in our Support Services for Adults program who are dedicated to volunteering.
Chris, a participant at the Mahon Center, one of the four Support Services for Adults centers, has been volunteering for the same couple, Joan and Ed, for 15 years. Every Friday, Chris and Sue McKinney, Support Staff, go to Shop ‘n Save and pick up the couple’s weekly groceries. “When Chris started at the Mahon Center, he needed a volunteer job,” Sue said. “Judy (Mahon, Support Staff) knew a family that needed assistance with grocery shopping, so she suggested Chris. And, then it all began.”
Just as Chris enjoys helping the couple, Joan and Ed enjoy their visits with Chris. “I like doing it (shopping),” Chris said. It also gives Chris and Sue one-on-one time. “Chris is a nice guy,” Sue said. “And, he’s funny.” While shopping the two will share jokes and laugh together.
Because of this time, Sue and Chris have gained a friendship. Sue invites Chris to her house for dinners. “She’s my friend,” Chris said. He also enjoys the time with Sue’s husband, daughter and granddaughter.
Over the years, Chris has learned to speak up for himself. He likes to think about things before he gives his answer. And, even if he says “no” or decides not to help at the time he’s being asked, he usually will decide it’s the right thing to do – helping others. “It’s very important to Chris to help others or ask if they need anything before leaving for the store,” Sue said.
Support Services for Adults offers outcome-based day services to adults with developmental disabilities, providing a productive and meaningful day. Part of their daily service is volunteering for their community. Volunteer jobs are conducted in the community and onsite at the centers.
Update: In June 2016, Chris passed away. As a thank you, Alice, Chris’ mom, purchased a bench for the Mahon Center. Click here to read the full story.