There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that circulates around social media when a tragic event occurs. I have mentioned it before. “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.’” I, like many others, have been a lifelong fan of Mr. Rogers, his kind words and actions guiding me throughout my youth and adulthood. This quote, among many of his others, has resonated with me. Now, in my role as Friendly VOYCE and Volunteer Manager, I get to work with the helpers every single day.

As we enter Volunteer Appreciation Month, I want to take the time to remind our volunteers of the difference they make in the lives of residents and the lives of those of us at VOYCE. 

Serving Residents

VOYCE works to speak up for quality long-term care, and this work is not possible without the help of our dedicated volunteers. Whether they are members of our board, ombudsmen, part of Friendly VOYCE, advocates, members of a committee, helping with Project Holiday Cheer, or any other way they have connected with VOYCE, our volunteers make a difference. Anyone who has worked with older adults and individuals in long-term care knows that this vulnerable population of adults is often ignored. Even those who choose to donate their time and energy often overlook this particular group, opting instead to work with animals or children. But not our volunteers. 

Our volunteers choose day in and day out to dedicate themselves to older adults and residents in long-term care. Our ombudsman volunteers are a voice for residents. They visit each week, ensuring the residents have autonomy, dignity, and respect. Friendly VOYCE volunteers provide companionship and compassion for individuals who might not have visitors or a way to connect to the larger community. Our board members help guide VOYCE through our mission. Committee members help events and education to run smoothly. Project Holiday Cheer volunteers make sure that every resident knows someone is thinking about them during the holidays. And our advocates speak to legislators and others on behalf of residents, so those in power know that residents do have a voice.

Thank You, From VOYCE

Volunteers are here for residents, not for us, but even without trying, they touch the lives of VOYCE staff. As many know, this work can be difficult, overwhelming, and sometimes sad. But every day, we get to talk to or work with people who, of their own volition, dedicate their time to residents. I can share the ways in which volunteers all make our jobs easier and the tasks they help us complete. But the biggest way they help VOYCE is by inspiring us.

When I begin to feel burnt out or disillusioned with the state of long-term care, I look to our volunteers. Our volunteers remind me day in and day out that people do care. As the Friendly VOYCE and Volunteer Manager, I am so happy to have the privilege of supporting the best volunteers in all of Missouri. 

To all of our volunteers, I just want to say how much I truly appreciate you and thank you for being an inspiration and reminding me just how good people can be.

Libby Sykes and her husband dressed as Mr. Rogers and King Friday!

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.”

-Mr. Fred Rogers

By Libby Sykes, MSW – Friendly VOYCE and Volunteer Manager

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