Volunteering important, beneficial for all parties

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"Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your heart everywhere you go."

- Mother Teresa

In a recent Brain Booster class, the group was discussing how important it is to stay engaged in life. Several of the students volunteer, and they shared how much volunteering contributes to the quality of their lives. Two of my students volunteer for Memory Matters.

Let's start with how volunteering can change your life.

Benefits of volunteering:

  • Gain confidence
  • Make a difference
  • Meet people. Volunteering can help you meet different kinds of people and make new friends.
  • Be part of a community
  • Learn new skills
  • Take on a challenge
  • Have fun

In addition, did you know that a new experience can contribute to a healthier brain? Learning new things opens pathways in a process called "neuroplasticity," which simply put means doing new things helps your brain grow.

And doing kind things helps your heart grow. Nothing makes a person feel better than doing for others.

Trish Elliott has been volunteering for Memory Matters for many years and she gives her heart and soul to our program. The following is an excerpt for a piece she wrote for our inspirational book, "Meet Me Where I Am." Enjoy these beautiful words:

Precious Father, I need your help this morning. There is so much that I want to do today for my special friends.

As I take their wrinkled hands in mind, keep me mindful of the many important and useful things these hands have done. They have cared for infants and children, fought in wars, built bridges, started companies.

They have created beautiful art, planted and harvested fields and gardens, and caressed a spouse. They have bandaged knees and styled hair, cooked meals and fixed cars.

Keep me mindful. Let my hands be warm and welcoming and give them confidence and that they are in a safe place.

Lord, I pray that for these hours, I can erase the isolation they might feel from their disease, and replace it with stimulation and fun and laughter. I so want their time with us to be one of sharing the simple joys of being with caring friends. My hope is that through creative ways, we can exercise their minds and bodies and let them experience the joys of yesterdays through song, dance, and activities."

You will find this and many more thought-provoking stories in our book. Copies are available at our center, 117 William Hilton Parkway.

If you want to volunteer, or know someone who might, Memory Matters needs people who care and who want to make a difference in our community. Visit mymemorymatters.org or call 843-842-6688.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org; mymemorymatters.org

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