Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,
what are you doing for others?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When members and visitors walk through the doors at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, a friendly volunteer greets them. Next to the greeter hangs the Volunteer board recognizing the Center’s volunteers and emphasizing the importance of volunteering.
A Challenge Spurs a Call to Action
Also greeting them is the quote from Dr. King, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
It is a question that volunteers answer through action.
“Volunteering helps the Center,” shares Eva Talbot, a member of the Center and a volunteer, “and the Center helps the seniors. I think that’s why most people volunteer—it really helps the seniors.”
Ms. Talbot started volunteering two years after the Center opened, first as a volunteer greeter. “I really liked it. I liked being with the seniors. At first I was nervous, but they were real nice. Now it’s fun. I like hearing about their lives.”
For the past ten years, Ms. Talbot has volunteered anywhere and everywhere in the Center: in the lunch room, serving hot food, at the front desk, or running a class.
Ms. Talbot now runs Color Your Mind class. “I love that class, because the members color pictures, and they relax,” Ms. Talbot says. “They just have different conversations about what’s been going on. It’s a very relaxing class.”
Staying Busy and Socializing is Essential for Older Adults
The Center’s many activities and programs help older people stay busy and occupied. Volunteers help keep these activities and programs running.
For seniors, staying busy and socializing is essential. “If they stay home, they worry about what’s wrong,” Ms. Talbot says, “but if they volunteer, they won’t have time to stay home and think about what’s wrong!”
Trips and outings especially keep the members busy. The Trip Coordinator plans many exciting outings for the members.
These outings include monthly casino trips, winery visits, and holiday trips to see a pretty and illuminated Nativity scene. In September, they saw the Tony award-winning MJ: The Musical.
Rose Richardson, Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, inspires Ms. Talbot and all the volunteers.
“She really cares about the seniors. She makes sure they get food vouchers, turkeys, and all kinds of stuff. That’s what makes a lot of people want to volunteer, because of the way they’ve been treated.”
And visitors will continue seeing Ms. Talbot around the Center, volunteering wherever needed.