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For Bob Rickman, Tuesday mornings means he gets to visit Linda Gabriel, a homebound senior in Mesa County with St. Mary’s Community Connections program. It’s a visit Linda looks forward to.
“There is nothing anybody can give to somebody else that is more valuable than their time,” Gabriel said.
Rickman has been a volunteer with St. Mary’s Community Connections program for five years. “I really enjoy it. I’ve had some wonderful people that I have volunteered my time with,” said Bob Rickman.
During the visits, Rickman helps Gabriel with errands like grocery shopping, trips to the pharmacy, and the bank and even takes her to her medical appointments.
“Seeing people and having them smile and do things with them is great. It’s wonderful,” Rickman said.
The two were paired through the St. Mary’s Community Connections program and have developed a life-long friendship.
“He gives his time to people, and I am grateful,” Gabriel said. “It’s been wonderful. All of my volunteers have become my close friends.”
The volunteer-based program connects volunteers with homebound seniors to promote their independence allowing participants to remain safely in their homes for as long as possible. For some seniors, their Community Connection companion is the only human interaction they have.
Volunteers are needed
The program is looking for more volunteers to support the seniors on their wait list.
Volunteers meet with their matched participant one time per week for 2-3 hours. During that time, the volunteer provides transportation for necessary errands while having some fun. Volunteers are encouraged to go for walks, out to lunch, play games, go for a drive or do any activity that the participant might miss doing.
Volunteers must pass a background check, complete a fingerprint process and provide proof of valid driver’s license and insurance. Volunteers use their own vehicles during their time with their participants and are reimbursed their gas mileage. Volunteers are there solely for transportation and companionship services; they do not provide home health aide or housekeeping services.
The Program Coordinator gets to know both the volunteers and the participants to try and create a successful match. We want this to be a great experience for both the Volunteer and the participant.
If you are someone you know is interested in volunteering or receiving services call 970-298-9092. You can learn more about the program at stmarysgj.org.