April is a month when attention around the world turns to acknowledging the vital role of volunteers. We have mentioned many times how much we at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors value our volunteers on a daily basis. Volunteer commitment and work accounts for the existence and continuation of TAPS. Seniors that attend our Monday to Friday program do so to stay active and connected and volunteers play a role in all aspects of what we do. We have a multigenerational program, and interacting with youth across ages is part of the volunteer experience.
One volunteer talked about her decision in being with our seniors as “making her heart sing.” She was introduced to TAPS when her mother participated and got so much out of it that she decided to volunteer to be part of it.
“I feel so welcome; it’s like belonging to a family,” she said.
Reflecting further, she talked of an unexpected benefit.
“By getting to know more seniors and hearing individual stories, I now pay more attention to the seniors I see in our community and I don’t take them for granted. It’s changed my world.”
She is also inspired by the genuineness and humility of our elders.
“It excites me to be around them.”
Currently about 40 volunteers participate in a variety of roles. Some of this group is represented by the Krafty Kronys, who raise funds through their handmade items and pies in addition to helping out at functions. Barry and Judy Freeman have been volunteering to lead the weekly tai chi classes for many years. Jim Daniels is our ongoing bus maintenance angel. Until last year, Nicole Nilsson volunteered for the wellness program. Thanks to Ron Hurry, the wellness clinics and foot clinics run smoothly. We are looking for a nurse to resume our clinics. The book club benefits from the participation of Pat Tomasic from the library with Sharon Wesolowski and Lynette Collins. Joanna Wilson accompanies the choir and strummers for weekly music sessions.
Other jobs include assisting in the kitchen for food preparation, setting up and serving at lunches and special events, dishwashers after lunch, friendship workers, socializing, playing games, assisting during activities in the aquatic program, helping with crafts and more. The most important volunteer job is to eat lunch with us and talk with the TAPS seniors.
What is the time commitment for volunteers? For this to work, we need some volunteers to commit to a regular time and activity, and others can simply be on call. There is a two-hour volunteer training and orientation session, and additional educational opportunities as they are planned. Volunteers can share their ideas and skills to enhance the program.
If you are considering volunteering you can pick up an application form at the TAPS office at Rotacrest Hall on 19th Avenue North. Our program volunteer activities take place on Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Occasional opportunities arise for weekend community events that TAPS participates in.
On April 23, come join us during Arts and Culture Week, which is sponsored by the Community of Creston Arts Council for Sing With Us at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church on Northwest Boulevard. The TAPS choir and band will join with the Cresteramics Thursday drumming and singing group for a community sing-along from 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors. For more information on TAPS, run by Valley Community Services, call 250-428-5585.