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Volunteers Make a Difference at Concordia (part 3): Volunteering Despite Adversity

April 16, 2012

One of the beautiful things about volunteering is that one doesn't need to fit into a specific mold to help another human being. Young or old; black or white; short or tall there is very little criteria for lending a hand in some way.

As 84-year-old Butler resident Jean June has shown, not even a wheelchair and declining health needs to stop one from supporting others.

Since 2008, June has served as a volunteer with Concordia Tele-CareGivers, making daily phone calls to older, often homebound individuals to make sure they are responsive and able to answer the phone.

"I would rather be in their homes helping, but I do what I can," she said. "We have good laughs, and you never know what kind of conversation you're going to have."

On average, June makes about five phone calls per day, some lasting 60 seconds and some 15 minutes, depending on the person on the other end of the line. She recalled one woman who was particularly withdrawn but June eventually broke through.

"I called her for weeks, and each day she would say ?I don't feel like talking today,' and I would tell her ?that's fine,'" June said. "Then one day, the woman finally broke the ice, talking about how she was a nurse during World War II. We had a real good talk."

Another person on her call list, a woman from Jefferson City, was new to the program. Upon receiving a call at 8:30 a.m. on her first day, the woman quickly called Program Coordinator Sandie Ross and demanded that no one calls her before 9 a.m., "not a minute sooner!"

The next day, June hesitantly called the woman at 9:01. Since then, the two have become great friends.

"We're trying to find a way to meet up, but for now we're happy just talking on the phone," June said.

Ironically, before volunteering with seniors, June volunteered as a babysitter in her church in Florida, where she used to live. And she's certainly had plenty of experience with children: she has three living daughters (one deceased), nine grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter.

In addition to volunteering, she enjoys seeing family, doing puzzles and learning. And she has absolutely no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

"I don't feel my age and I'm told I don't look my age," she said with a laugh. "If I had it my way, I wouldn't be watching football on TV; I'd be out there playing."

Established in 2001, Concordia Tele-CareGivers is operated solely by volunteers who make brief calls from 8 10 a.m. Monday thru Friday. Sometimes, the clients end up being the volunteers as well.

To volunteer, the qualifications are to be functioning by 8 a.m., at home until 10 a.m., good on the telephone (particularly with the elderly) and able to recognize a problem and report it appropriately.

For more information or to get involved, call Program Coordinator Sandie Ross at 724.352.6260. Visit the Tele-CareGivers page on the Concordia website.

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Concordia is always looking for interested community members to help in a number of areas. Our volunteers perform important and rewarding work, and can choose the duties, location and schedule most fitting to them. No prior experience is needed, just an open heart and the desire to change a life.

Volunteers contribute in many ways, including:

Music or dance talents

Helping with parties/special events/outings

Visiting residents and wheelchair walks

Quilting and sewing various items

Pet Therapy visits

Recycling cans and newspaper

Office help

Delivering mail/papers

Light yardwork

Assisting with chapel services

And much more!

Those interested in volunteering should call one of the locations listed below and ask for volunteer opportunities. For more information on Concordia Lutheran Ministries, visit our website or e-mail us here.

Concordia at Cabot

134 Marwood Road

Cabot, PA 16023

Phone: (724) 352-1571

Concordia at Ridgewood Place

1460 Renton Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15239

Phone: (412) 798-1855

Concordia at The Orchard

1312 N. Main Street Extension

Butler, PA 16001

Phone: (724) 285-4490

Concordia at Rebecca Residence

3746 Cedar Ridge Road

Allison Park, PA 15101

Phone: (724) 444-0600

Good Samaritan Hospice

3500 Brooktree Road, Ste. 320

Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: (724) 933-8888

Concordia of the South Hills

1300 Bower Hill Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15243

Phone: (412) 278-1300

Concordia of Cranberry

10 Adams Ridge Boulevard

Mars, PA 16046

Phone: (724) 779-4300

Concordia of Fox Chapel

931 Route 910

Cheswick, PA 15024

Phone: (412) 767-5808

Concordia of Franklin Park

1600 Georgetowne Drive

Sewickley, PA 15143

Phone: (724) 935-1075

Concordia of Wexford

125 Brown Road

Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: (724) 935-1266

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