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Blog archive

July 2024

June 2024

May 2024

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?

Farewell from the 2023/24 Social Work Interns

Gina on the Horizon

Mark Your Calendars for the Healthy Aging Research California Virtual Summit

Meet Our New Development Associate

Putting the Strategic Plan into Practice

Washington Park: Pasadena’s Rediscovered Gem

Introducing Civil Rights Discussions

Rumor of Humor #2416

Rumor of Humor #2417

Rumor of Humor #2417

Rumor of Humor #2418

Springtime Visitors

Freezing for a Good Cause – Credit, That Is

No Discussion Meeting on May 3rd

An Apparently Normal Person Author Presentation and Book-signing

Flintridge Center: Pasadena Village’s Neighbor That Changes Lives

Pasadena Celebrates Older Americans Month 2024

The 2024 Pasadena Village Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

Woman of the Year: Katy Townsend

April 2024

March 2024

February 2024

January 2024

Volunteering is at The Heart of the Village

By Sue Addelson
Posted: 03/25/2024
Tags: sue addelson

Bruce Christiansen is a computer whiz. Dan Guerrero loves to drive cars. Both men generously share their specialties with fellow Pasadena Villagers as Tech Time volunteers, volunteer drivers, and on several leadership committees.

They’re in good company. More than half of Pasadena Villagers also volunteer in various capacities.

“Volunteering is the heart of the organization,” says Wayne April.

The fact is, the Village was founded on the basis of members helping members. “From the very beginning we recognized that we would all need help from time to time—with driving, or cooking a meal or even changing a lightbulb. We wanted to help each other. We wanted to be active and useful,” explains founding member and Village President Sue Kujawa.

Sure, it can be hard to ask a stranger for help. But as Wayne sees it, “It’s common to ask for help from a friend. The beauty of being a member of Pasadena Village, if you don’t know the person, volunteering is another chance to make a friend. It gives you a chance to grow.” Wayne is a firm believer that getting a little bit out of our comfort zones is a good thing.

Village membership has grown tremendously in the past year. Sue Kujawa recommends that everyone—especially newer Villagers—get involved in activities and volunteering. “This way, they won’t be strangers, and they’ll be more comfortable asking for help when they need it.”

A good way to ease into volunteering is to become a volunteer driver. Villagers who need a driver contact the office. Priyanka or Hannah shares the request with the volunteer drivers. More volunteer drivers mean the Village can fulfill more requests.

Villagers are motivated to volunteer for different reasons. Wayne says it gives him a sense of purpose. “It kind of replaces the one I had when I was working.”

Dan started volunteering as a driver after his wife died. “Pasadena Village filled the big gap in my life. It was my intent to give back to the Village by volunteering. Bruce, like many members, no longer has the community he grew up with. “With the Village I found a different kind of community. Everyone gets to give and take. We have a number of members who can’t drive themselves ever; or can’t drive themselves because they had cataract surgery, or colonoscopy, or knee replacements. They need that support for a while. As a community we can just step in and help each other. It’s what you do for friends.”

No one can speak to the giving-and-taking of volunteering with as much heart as Kären Bagnard. While she needs help because of her worsening visual impairment, she, too, volunteers in many ways. “I love writing, planning social gatherings, sharing my creative energy and helping people come together. My blindness does not prevent me from doing much… I just don’t drive anymore.”

Kären knows first-hand how hard it is to ask for help. “We all want to be independent, which can make asking for help difficult. However, each one of us will need help with something someday. Keep in mind that those who do the volunteering do it because they want to. By asking for help you are, essentially, fulfilling the volunteer’s sense of purpose. That makes the task mutually beneficial. That is reciprocity. That is what makes our Village the success that it is.”

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