River Country Journal
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January 1, 2013

The Volunteer Connection by Margaret Shultz

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist

There’s a brand new calendar on the wall and a fresh new year before us.  Will you wait and see what happens in the coming months or do you prefer to be more proactive about it?  Call them New Year’s resolutions or simply call it goal setting but people who make conscious decisions about what they want to do and who they want to become are more likely to achieve those objectives than those who use the “hope it happens” method.  As an added bonus, studies have shown that individuals who have established a purpose in life have fewer health problems and even increase their chances for a longer life.

So, what goals do you have for 2013?  Do you want to learn something new?  Do you want to share your talents with others?  Maybe you want to be more active, make new friends, or create a legacy of helping others that will live long after you’re gone.  Volunteering can be one way to accomplish all of these things and more.  In this column each week we suggest ways that you can connect your skills and talents to needs right here in St. Joseph County.  We would like to inspire you to reach out and, in doing so, receive the special satisfaction of having achieved that goal you set for yourself, whatever it may be.

Riverside Health Clinic is a local agency that provides basic medical and dental services to residents who are uninsured or under-insured.  The main location is in Three Rivers and they are now providing service in Sturgis one day a month.  Their services are provided almost exclusively by volunteers and they need people with a wide range of skills.  They are always in need of doctors and nurses who are willing to give some time to the program.  Beyond that, they need volunteers who can help with set-up on clinic days, greet patients, assist with completion of paperwork, do record keeping, and perform other office functions.  Riverside Clinic does not ask for a minimum commitment from volunteers but they prefer if people can commit to a regular schedule (e.g. once a month or once every other month).  Training is provided to volunteers before they begin their assignment.  If you are interested in volunteering with Riverside Health Clinic, either in Three Rivers or in Sturgis, contact Cindy Kujacznski at 269-251-4859.

There are four nursing homes in the county, all of which welcome volunteers to visit with the residents, help with activities, decorate for the holidays, and help plan special events.  There are no minimum commitments of volunteers at any of the nursing homes.  Background checks are performed and, if the volunteer will be coming in contact with residents, a TB test is required.  Contact information is as follows:  Riverview Manor, Three Rivers – Louann Hanson at 269-279-7441; Heartland Health and Rehabilitation Center, Three Rivers – Nancy Yerrick at 269-273-8661;  Fairview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Centreville – Christi Hurt at 269-467-9575;  Thurston Woods, Sturgis – Janine English at 269-651-7841.

Other programs in St. Joseph County that are looking for volunteers and would like to be included in this weekly column are encouraged to register with United Way.  Contact Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist, at 269-467-9099 or at volunteer.sjcuw@gmail.com.



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