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Recognizing the Value of Volunteers

Recognizing the Value of Volunteers

Reflections & Leadership  |  Caregiver Support

recognizing the value of volunteers at presbyterian senior living

Every spring we hold recognition events for Presbyterian Senior Living (PSL) volunteers and auxiliary members to express our appreciation for all that they do to make PSL communities a special place to live and work.  Volunteers come to us from a variety of sources.  They include residents from our independent living, personal care, or skilled nursing center – where the idea of neighbors helping neighbors is clearly expressed.

This article was co-written by Stephen Proctor, CEO of Presbyterian Senior Living, and Laurel Spagnolo, Vice President of Mission Support for Presbyterian Senior Living.

Some volunteers serve as an expression of their faith - reaching out to serve as an extension of their faith commitment through their church.  Some are family members, friends, and neighbors, - community members who have embraced Presbyterian Senior Living and its ministry to the community. Some are PSL staff members, who after working here all day, return to give their time to the people they care about.  Each of these groups of volunteers is a great blessing to us, and a critical part of creating the culture of care and compassion that we know as Presbyterian Senior Living.

In 2015, the total number of Volunteer Hours tallied across all Presbyterian Senior Living communities was over 108,000 hours!

recognizing the value of volunteersWe encourage volunteers to write down their hours of service throughout the year so we can have a record of the time commitment and faithfulness that this represents annually.  We do this for several reasons:

  1. It is a way to highlight the work of volunteers to our staff, who may see volunteers from time to time, but are unaware of the wide range of activities that volunteers support. PSL staff is always inspired by the commitment of volunteers to PSL’s mission.  By giving their time freely, they validate the efforts of staff, often sustaining them when the work becomes difficult.
  2. We use this information in our recruitment efforts for other volunteers throughout the PSL system. People are more likely to join an ongoing and successful effort than volunteer in a vacuum.  Just knowing that they are becoming a part of a volunteer program that has attracted other people like them can be enough to inspire them to become a volunteer.
  3. PSL’s charitable purpose as a not-for-profit organization is validated in a specific, quantifiable way to those who are considering us as a potential donor. Foundations routinely ask for a summary of our volunteer hours as evidence of our connection to the wider community and an affirmation of the community’s understanding and support of our charitable purpose.  Individuals are also impressed by the broad support that is illustrated by volunteer activities.
  4. The record of hours in each PSL locations is used to monitor the strength of volunteer efforts and provide feedback on the positive or negative trends in attracting and retaining volunteers. We use this information to make changes to improve the quality and quantity of volunteer activities.
  5. Finally, it is our sincere desire to let everyone who works as a volunteer how much their work means to the people we serve. While we know that not everyone records the hours that they spend as a volunteer, we are always pleasantly surprised by the large number of volunteer hours worked, which affirms the overall impact of volunteers on the culture and ministry of PSL in the service of seniors.

Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2016

Coordinated by the Point of Light Foundation, National Volunteer Week annually celebrates, promotes and appreciates volunteerism in the U.S. and Canada in April:

National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

Research regarding the physical and psychological benefits of volunteering have repeatedly shown that people who volunteer their time to help others feel much less lonely and depressed. Volunteering is a great way to remain socially connected, make new friends and experience the satisfaction of making a difference in someone's life.

A study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteering leads to better health - and that older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health benefits from their volunteer activities.

Now is the best time to volunteer - if you are interested in volunteering with us, check out our Volunteer Page, or use the Community Finder to find a community near you.

About Presbyterian Senior Living

Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.