Imagine being 11 years old and deciding that you are going to volunteer once a week for your whole summer vacation playing shuffleboard with the residents at the local retirement community. Most 11-year-olds would not be excited about this opportunity, but this individual was eager to do so. During her first summer volunteering, she formed lifelong relationships with the residents. The residents became “grandparents,” and if you would ask the residents, they would say she is like one of their grandchildren.

After volunteering through the Summer Junior Volunteer Program, she chose to continue volunteering throughout the school year. She said that she had a wonderful summer and greatly enjoyed the residents and all that she got to do. The residents also enjoyed the time spent with this volunteer and were excited to have her return during the year. Two years later, this volunteer, now 13 and in the 7th grade, continues to come in each Saturday to play shuffleboard with the residents. She is dedicated to her volunteer position and to the residents at this community.

Her dedication to this facility as a junior high student volunteer is worthy of recognition. This community is fortunate to have this volunteer who is willing to come in every Saturday to give her time and serve the residents. For two years, she has dedicated herself and her positive energy to the residents she has grown to know and love. It is evident that she values and appreciates the residents at this community. She has had a lasting impact on the residents, and they appreciate that she volunteers her time each Saturday. Even though she is getting older and more involved in school activities, she has continued to make time each week to spend with the residents, playing shuffleboard. During the summer, she tries to come in and spend extra time with the residents. The residents are always excited to see her and want to spend time with her. She doesn’t just play shuffleboard. This volunteer is actively involved in the residents’ lives and cares deeply for each one of them, as they do for her.

This volunteer greatly values her role. If she unable to come in, she will personally call the residents to let them know because she knows how important it is to them. It is touching to see how much she cares for each resident. At Christmas, she makes Christmas gifts for the residents who play shuffleboard to show her appreciation and love for them.

A few months ago, when this volunteer turned 13, the shuffleboard players baked treats for her and threw her a surprise birthday party. She has become a part of these residents’ families. You can hear the residents bragging about her accomplishments in the hallway just like they do for their own grandchildren. They are proud of her and all that she offers to this community, and they are excited to see what she will become as she grows older. They know that she is destined for greatness.

When she arrived for her first volunteer experience, she had so much enthusiasm. Oftentimes student volunteers are shy when they first arrive; however, she was eager to jump in and learn the game of shuffleboard. She quickly became comfortable with the residents and continues to be interested in their lives. Her positive energy is contagious, and there is always laughter coming from those playing shuffleboard. We have even had a few new residents excited to join the game of shuffleboard because of this “bubbly young lady.” She brightens everyone’s day just by having her around.

Our mission statement says, we are committed to providing quality services in a Christian environment that enhances life with dignity, meaning, and opportunities for growth. This volunteer truly embodies these words. Many of the residents playing shuffleboard have different abilities, and she encourages them to do their best. She warmly welcomes new residents to join their activity. Even at 13, she holds meaningful conversations with the residents about their lives.

Not only does this volunteer do amazing things at this facility, but she is excelling at school, as well. She is top of her class and was nominated as one of six students to be a Peer Mentor. All Peer Mentors are chosen by the school staff and are individuals who help encourage and inspire other students to do good. It came as no surprise that she would be a part of this prestigious group. She loves to play volleyball, is involved with the school musical, and hopes to begin volunteering at a local veterinary clinic next school year. Even with her new responsibilities, she always takes time to reassure the residents that she will continue to spend time with them as often as she can. She is someone who has learned to dream big and dreams of going to Harvard Law one day.

This volunteer is an exceptional young lady. This volunteer has shown remarkable love, compassion, and dedication to the residents. She is driven to do astounding things in her life, and she is already showing what she is capable of. She has a caring heart for people, and always has an infectious smile on her face. For two years, she has graciously given her Saturdays to our residents. This volunteer might only be 13 years of age, but she has accomplished much in her short life. She has made our residents’ lives richer and brings a brightness to this facility.