By:  Mary Beth Laraway Conlee

Doctor handshaking with a couple at the hospital








Volunteering as a romantic activity? As more and more companies encourage employees to volunteer in their communities, consider this: how many times have you said, “I’d do something if I had someone else to do it with?” How many times have you and your partner said you wished you had more time to get to know each other all over again? Volunteering together might just remind you of the qualities in each other that made you fall in love in the first place. It might even give you a hint of qualities you didn’t know your partner had.

There are more possibilities for volunteering than you might think, including helping push that neighbor out of the ditch. I would like to encourage some of you to consider volunteering in your local hospital. Check with staff first to find out when and where your skills can be used. Strict rules sometimes apply.

Patients and their families mainly need to know that someone out there cares. Candy Stripers have been known for years for their volunteer work. But YOUR compassion; reading or entertainment skills; patience; crafting skills; willingness; organizational skills; enjoyment of games or puzzles; driving skills; you name it- there is probably a place to use them in a hospital or long-term care setting. You don’t even have to step inside a hospital to make useful things for patients or residents.

Pam Maple, Seneca Long-Term Activity Director of Seneca Healthcare District in Chester spoke with me about some of the volunteer activities people have been and can be involved in. The Hospital Auxiliary does the laundry chores. Other volunteers are involved in bringing dogs in for pet therapy, calling bingo games, leading church services and music, bringing children in to visit with residents, and helping push wheelchairs on outings to concerts, lunches, etc.

How much more rewarding can it get than joining with your partner to help someone else while feeling good about yourselves? If you’re single, you may just develop the warmest friendships in your life through volunteering. And I didn’t mean to imply by the title that volunteering should be last on your list. Make it a top priority today!