By admin | August 28, 2013 | volunteer-box
Volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide including the Lafayette-Oxford-University (L-O-U) community. Memory Makers, an organization that serves the L-O-U community, is a day respite program for adults with early to middle stage Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Volunteers of the Memory Makers program provide an invaluable service.
Two of the program’s outstanding volunteers have been selected for Volunteer Oxford’s -VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT – Carol Van Besien and Rita Cauthen. Volunteering is an obvious passion for these two wonderful ladies.
“I have volunteered most of my married life in my church, school, and community where we have lived – Okinawa, Virginia , Illinois, Missouri , and now Mississippi ” said Van Besien. When asked how she became affiliated with Memory Makers, “I became acquainted with Jo Ann O’Quin (one of the program founders) many years ago when she mentioned desiring to develop an adult day care program such as Memory Makers. I was excited to see this happen in Oxford; I only wish it had happened earlier when my husband, a stroke victim, could have participated and I could have been given respite from constant care giving,” said Van Besien.
Rita Cauthen became a recurring volunteer once she retired. “There are a couple of things that led me to Memory Makers. For several years I felt the need to find some way to help senior adults and after working full time for 37 years, God gave me a gift of free time – time to do whatever I wanted each day and I wanted to make sure I was a good steward of this special time. I also had great examples of helping others in both of my parents.”
Volunteering not only benefits the organization but the volunteer as well. “I think volunteering affords an opportunity to think about others; it is very fulfilling to return some of our God-given time and talents. I often remind myself how the many experiences of being a volunteer have become blessings filled with wonderful memories,” Van Beisen describing her volunteer experience.
“It’s not just a volunteering experience. It is as much a learning experience for me. The participants have all lived long lives with lots of different backgrounds and life experiences and each day brings a new opportunity for me to learn something from them. They are full of knowledge and are all willing to share with everyone around them,” said Cauthen.
The two touched on how they have gained new skills through volunteering. “Programs and methods change and improve all the time – I’m just glad I can still benefit from new ways to help me be better skilled as a volunteer,” said Van Beisen.
“I’ve learned lots of new songs! We sing all the time, but most of the songs were popular a little before my time and it is just amazing that all of the participants know all the words. Everyone joins in the singing and their eyes just light up. I’ve also learned a few dance steps. We enjoy being entertained by ballroom dancers on Monday, which is a real treat. After a performance by the professionals, we all get up and dance. I would say music is good medicine,” Cauthen sharing her experiences with volunteering.
Carol and Rita are dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers which is why they have been selected as Volunteer Oxford’s- VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT- Congratulations and thank you for your service!
For more information on how to nominate someone for the Volunteer Spotlight click here to email or call 662-236-6662.