Contrary to what this blog might indicate, I do not spend 1000% of my time faffing about with vintage clothing and burlesque fripperies. There are also the hours reading 1930s novels, nibbling bon-bons, painting my nails, and…volunteering.
It’s NZ Volunteer Awareness Week, the perfect time to mention that there are two volunteer things that I do. One is with a major professional association, and the work I do there produces many benefits for me. The other is different. I wanted to do something that would Help Someone and Make A Difference. After mulling over various possibilities, I am now an accredited visitor with the AGS. What do I do? Once or twice a week, I visit a lovely senior lady. We’ve been having our weekly dates for about two years now. When she was living independently I would bring a hot homemade dinner and we’d chat over that. I showed her how to use her computer and email, and we went out on excursions. Her health and strength have declined, and she’s living in a retirement home now, but I still visit. We still do the occasional very gentle excursion too, like driving to the seaside to watch the waves.
People get a bit shy when I tell them this. Their minds flash onto the fact that they haven’t called Grandma, or they haven’t volunteered since they were building up to apply to university. Then they blurt out, “That’s a really amazing thing that you do. She’s lucky to have you!” I’m not that amazing, as a visitor. Being an AGS visitor takes me two, maybe three hours a week. But I’m there. If you ever feel like volunteering, somebody would be really lucky to have you, and you would make a real difference.
Last time I went to visit the retirement home, a senior man on crutches stopped me in the hallway to chat. After a moment’s pleasantries, he said, “I just wanted to say, you have a lovely face. Really lovely.” There was something else about my husband or boyfriend being lucky, but I was blushing so hard my ears stopped working. It was all I could do to stammer out a thank you.
So, there you have it. Volunteer and be beautiful!