Thank You Wesbury, Volunteers! – The Essence of OHANA
In 2018, 251 Wesbury volunteers provided 13,773.5 hours of service to residents at Wesbury, and we cannot thank our army of volunteers enough. Some donate their time every day, a couple times a week, a few times a month, or just here or there. No matter the length of time, they all shine their light and help others in need.
At this year’s Hawaiian-themed Volunteer Luncheon, Melissa Swartwood, Wesbury’s Director of Life Enrichment and Volunteer Services Coordinator, spoke about OHANA. OHANA is a word in Hawaiian culture that means family, and it is the idea that family and friends are bound together. It also means that everyone must work together and not forget each other or leave anyone behind. OHANA speaks to the concept of a larger family that is not necessarily connected by blood. A person’s OHANA can include their best friends, neighbors, or an army of volunteers who have a special place in their life.
The time volunteers spend with residents is meaningful and builds long-lasting relationships. For some, it may be the only meaningful one-on-one interaction they receive on any given day. The harsh reality is that we have people all over Wesbury wanting, waiting, asking, and hoping for someone to help them in some way or just spend time with them. We all have the power to be that someone…Someone who provides a sense family for those who may be missing their loved ones and someone who provides a sense of community for those who feel as though they don’t belong, and who may be having a hard time adjusting to their circumstances and lifestyle transitions. Wesbury volunteers come from many different backgrounds and life experiences. Some are older, some are younger. Some live in the greater community, some live in the Wesbury community, yet, all have at least one thing in common, a willingness to give their time and talent to support others and create a sense of family.
Melissa says she is humbled when volunteers say to her, “I just stuff envelopes, I just work in the gift shop or the sewing room, I just help with the bake sale, my dog just visits a few times a month, or I just help with the Stephen ministry program.” In reality, all of those “I just do” tasks add up to something BIG…AMAZING… and POWERFUL!
Volunteers have blessed lives, developed friendships, lifted spirits, and made life at Wesbury better for hundreds of people in need. Everything they do contribute to this concept of “OHANA”.
Because of Wesbury volunteers:
- We can reach thousands in the community with Wesbury’s Annual Chicken BBQ.
- Grace residents went on over 30 outings last year.
- A resident was able to buy a gift for a loved one in the Sunset Auxiliary Gift Shoppe.
- That simple little bake sale, generated enough funds to purchase blanket warmers for residents who have trouble keeping warm.
- In the sewing room, a resident’s family heirloom was mended and returned back to them.
- Stuffing 1400 envelopes, a staff member was freed up to sit with a resident’s family in their time of need.
- Bringing your dog in, a resident that had to give up his dog gets to feel unconditional love again.
- Serving as part of the Stephen’s ministry, a resident who just received not so great news, now has a friend to sit and pray with them.