From July 2009 through June 2010, 438 persons gave 3,603 hours of volunteer help! Wow! Thank you to each volunteer for being there for someone with a disability.
If you are an individual, a student or teacher from an elementary, junior or high school, a college student, or a member of a faith-based, civic or business group, contact us to connect with a person with disabilities. Volunteers may be young or old. Families can volunteer together. Youth have volunteered to earn special badges or community service awards. Retired persons have found new ways to stay active and do something meaningful through volunteering. Persons with disabilities can volunteer. We have worked with persons who are required to do community service as part of a legal obligation. We will work with you to figure out a way you can make your special contribution. You don't need to be experienced in working with persons with disabilities to join in as new volunteers.
Here are ways volunteers have been active.
The Voice of Volunteer Marisa by Marisa Iati
Patty ambushes me with a hug as I walk through the door, Denise wheels into the room with cheerful surprise to see me, and Bernice looks up from the game show she is watching to ask me what we are doing today.
This is the beginning of a typical visit to the Benford Group home although, really, there’s no such thing as a ‘typical visit.’ Each volunteer’s experience is different, each day is different, and each consumer is different. In this case, the old adage is true: what you get out of the experience really does depend on what you put into it.
I am Marisa Iati. I am working on my Gold Award for Girl Scouts and have been volunteering for over a year with Patty, Denise and Bernice, residents at one of Enable’s group homes. My Gold Award project includes writing the biographies on each of their lives and then putting together a final scrap book to present to them.
Working as a volunteer is not always easy. Yet I am finding the challenges turn into the most fulfilling aspects of my work at Enable. The careful selection of the right words, the lessons that I learn, and the energy that I muster on my most tiring days become rewarding when a consumer tells me she is happy to see me or gives me a big bear hug. A smile comes to my face when I see a consumer light up with joy, elated at her accomplishments for the day.
The consumers at Benford have become a safe haven for me. At the end of my longest day, in the midst of the inevitable ups and downs of life, and when I just want to roll back the covers and go to sleep, a consumer will say or do something that makes me laugh, smile, or both at once, and instantly saves my day. It is because, when I go there, I know that I am making a difference in someone’s day. Being able to make someone else happy is possibly the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do so. What I didn’t know was that they would be making a difference in mine as well. (For the full article, click onto the December 2008 issue of Voices.
Helping Others Runs in This Family
Chuck and Mandy Riccardi are brother and sister. Both have a commitment to volunteer. These siblings took time from their weekend to help with minor home repairs that consisted of tightening up loose kitchen cabinets and re-caulking tiles in the bathroom for a woman served by Enable through the Project Connect program funded by the United Way of Greater Mercer County.
Chuck and Mandy came prepared with drill and caulk in hand. They worked together as a team and spent three hours making adjustments to the cabinets and replacing bathroom tiles that had fallen out.
“Both of us love helping others and this was a perfect opportunity to do so,” said Chuck. The woman who was assisted greatly appreciated their work. Enable is grateful for volunteers who are willing to give of their free time to help someone in need.
Science in the Making at Lopatcong
Volunteers working on a science experiment with Clifford.
Three men from Enable’s Lopatcong Group Home participated in science experiments when volunteers from Hopewell Valley Central High School’s, Model World Health Organization (MWHO) came to visit with them last month. The MWHO Club seeks to help attain health for all persons throughout the world.
The students worked on several activities with the men including seeing how many paper clips could be hung from buzz magnets and making Alka-Selzer rockets using film canisters.
“We all enjoyed our time with the Lopatcong residents and hope to come back again to visit soon,” said Dr. Lillian Rankel, Co-Advisor for MWHO.
Volunteers Hard at Work
For the past five summers, JusticeworX has been bringing youth to volunteer with Enable. JusticeworX assists youth to develop their life skills and to put their faith into action. Young people accomplish this by participating in a social service program during the day followed by discussion groups about their experiences in the evenings during a week-long, summer camp experience. The camp is housed at St. Joseph’s Seminary in the Princeton area. This year the youth who are assisting at Enable’s Day Program in Princeton plan a project that the consumers will work on at the end of the week. Some of the projects have included talent shows, karaoke and baking. The group pictured below engaged the participants in decorating cookies and tie dying socks. “We really had a great time with the consumers this week. It was a special experience for each of us and we appreciate them letting us into their daily lives,” said Widian Nicola, JusticeworX Program Coordinator.
Enable always appreciates volunteers and their willingness to give of their free time to help out. We thank JusticeworX for their dedication, kindness, and the energy they bring to Enable’s Day Program each and every summer.
Employees of Johnson & Johnson’s Medicines and Nutritionals Division in Titusville volunteered a full-day of work to assist at Enable’s group home in Ewing. A total of 24 hours were spent washing the inside and outside windows, weeding, raking and planting beautiful mums. At day’s end, this group offered to come back again.
Princeton Alliance Church Paints for Enable
Eleven members of Princeton Alliance Church devoted over 20 hours to paint the living room, dining room, ceiling and hallways of Enable’s group home in Hamilton, N.J. The rooms look beautiful! Instead of holding their usual Sunday worship service, the congregation took the day to work on community service projects throughout the area. Enable was one of the beneficiaries. Hoping to serve others and to unify the members, Princeton Alliance had members complete service projects together at the same time, on the same day.
Princeton Friends School At The Day Program
A group of fifth graders from the Princeton Friends School arrives at Enable’s Day Program on the second Friday of each month. The students and their teacher work with the participants at the Day Program on various projects for about two hours. The time may be spent making a new arts and craft project or working at a skill the participant has chosen to practice.
There are more stories of the valuable contributions volunteers make in Enable’s newsletter Voices.
Enable provides services at twelve (12) locations plus works with persons who live in their own homes and apartments throughout Central Jersey.
If you are volunteering as an individual, here are some of the roles you might take on:
If you are looking to make a meaningful difference in the life of an individual, then consider volunteering with Enable. If you represent a business, school, group, congregation or family, come volunteer at Enable!