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Great Place to Volunteer

Great Place to Volunteer Submitted by Miranda van Rooyen, RSVP Program Director

Meet Chandra Hoffman she has been volunteering her time with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at Area Agency on Aging 3 as a Friendly Caller volunteer in November 2021. While also signing on to assist with many different needs that come up. She was able to assist with our AAA3 annual Shred A Thon this year.

"I taught school for thirty-five years and for several years after that, I was a university student teacher supervisor. I have been a volunteer at various agencies for many years. In addition to the AAA, I have previously been a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Associate, a hospice volunteer, a friendly visitor for the Council on Aging, and a volunteer, board member, or president of two different historical societies. In all my volunteer positions working with the elderly, my main goal has been to provide companionship, alleviate loneliness, solve problems, and advocate for a better quality of life.

My desire to be an advocate for the elderly stems in part from an experience had by my grandfather. He had lived his whole life on our family farm where I now live. He loved animals and anything that grew. After living alone for a few years, the last few months of his life was spent in a nursing home because my parents were still working and not able to care for him. They would pick him up on Friday nights to spend the weekends at the farm. Each time he would point to his special rocker he had brought from home and say, “You might as well take that because I’m not coming back here.” Of course, every Sunday he went back. One day at the nursing home, he was in the hallway watching the ducks outside the door. A staff member said, “Mr. Buddemeyer, you’re not allowed out here, you have to stay in your room.” For a farmer who had spent his life outdoors to not be able to watch wildlife was the last straw for Grandpa. Mom said he gave up his will to live and passed soon after. I think of that often and my wish is that everyone lives his/her life with free will, dignity, and the affection and care of loving people. That is why I continue to volunteer to assist the elderly. There is nothing more gratifying to hear someone say how much the simplest act was so appreciated, be it checking in on them, asking about their day, listening to their stories, or assisting them with setting up grocery delivery. Part of having a fulfilling volunteer experience is to be with a well-organized program. While all mean well, that has been difficult to always find. The program at the AAA3 is well-organized and professional. The volunteer director is supportive and responsive to my emails. She keeps us all informed of various opportunities to volunteer. It’s a great place to be a volunteer."

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