Why I volunteer: Meet Cheryl
When Cheryl Douglas started volunteering with the Alzheimer Society on the advice of a friend, she didn’t know much about the organization or the disease. Fast forward a year and a half, and Cheryl is an enthusiastic advocate for the organization and a committed volunteer.
Cheryl started out in the Volunteer Companion program. She quickly found that her lack of experience was no barrier to a meaningful volunteer contribution. The training was amazing, she says, and she’s had ongoing support from staff.
Cheryl looks forward to seeing her match every week. They chat, play board games or do crosswords, and sometimes she paints her companion’s nails. Lots of laughter is a guarantee.
“I wanted to do something that was rewarding for me and also very helpful for someone else,” she says. “So this certainly fit the bill for me.”
Cheryl has recently picked up an additional role at the Alzheimer Society, as a volunteer receptionist. She felt comfortable taking on a new role knowing that she would be supported by the staff. She had training before she started, as well as on the job, and will be able to access training for any new tasks she wants to take on.
At the office, Cheryl gets to be a friendly face for people when they walk through the door, helping them feel more comfortable. She also fields phone calls and handles whatever odd jobs she can.
It’s the kind of behind-the-scenes work she got a preview of when she helped with set-up at the Walk for Alzheimer’s last year. She got to work with all kinds of different people and draw on her creative skills to help the event come together. “It was just a fun day. I saw a lot of faces I ended up knowing.”
Cheryl didn’t get involved with any expectations that she would receive a lot of gratitude for her work – she just wanted to help out. But she says she’s been blown away by how the Alzheimer Society manages its volunteers.
“They just make you feel so good about what you do and are very appreciative, and they’re very supportive,” she says.
But, of course, what really drives volunteers is knowing that they’re helping out with such an important cause.
“We know how many people are affected and in the future may be affected by the disease.”
Facebook: When she’s with her Volunteer Companion match, Cheryl Douglas plays games and chats. At the Alzheimer Society office, she helps put clients who walk through the door at ease. And at the Walk for Alzheimer’s, you might find her setting up with the morning crew. No matter the role, Cheryl finds it rewarding, because she’s helping others.
e-newsletter: Before she started volunteering, Cheryl Douglas didn’t know much about dementia or the Alzheimer Society. But the training and ongoing support offered by the Society helped her feel comfortable jumping into roles at the office and the Walk for Alzheimer’s, as well as becoming a Volunteer Companion.