Written by Juanita Fox
Garden Spot Village holds service as a core value and the theme of service flows through every facet of the community as residents volunteer in a variety of ways to keep Garden Spot Village running smoothly.
Approximately 500 residents volunteer regularly on campus. In total, these volunteers served 59,674 hours in 2016. Since 1996 volunteers served 607,529 hours. And this is just what we measure on campus! Many residents spend multiple hours each week volunteering for local non-profit organizations in our greater community.
Each April, in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month and the many volunteers who give their time and energy to benefit the community, Garden Spot Village volunteer services hosts a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Held at Yoder’s Banquet Facility the last Saturday in April, the event has become an opportunity for fun, laughter and fellowship.
Deborah Fast, director of volunteer services says the event is “a time to celebrate and thank our volunteers who serve so faithfully.” About 300 volunteers attended this year’s Oscar-inspired breakfast themed, “Shine your Light through Volunteering.” Karen Horning, director of social services, spoke.
In addition, awards are given for milestones achieved by volunteers. John Weaver, Hannah Hauenstein and Doris Cummins were honored with a commemorative pin for volunteering 20 years.
John Weaver and his wife Rhoda helped to start The Village Store when they moved to Garden Spot Village 21 years ago. The couple pulled from their experience running their own store, The Back Porch on West Main Street in New Holland. When the gift shop opened Weaver spent 30-hours a week ordering product and managing the store. Today he volunteers about four hours a week in Refresh ordering items for the grocery department. In addition to making sure Refresh is stocked with ice cream, dairy products and snacks, he also drove the trolley once a week for a couple of hours until just recently. Of his time Weaver says, “It’s been something to do and I’ve enjoyed most all of it.”
Hannah Hauenstein faithfully knits three prayer shawls each month for the Garden Spot Village chaplains, who distribute them to residents who are hospitalized. She says, “I knew the chaplains needed them and I like to crochet.” For Hauenstein, crocheting is a natural use of her talents to bless others.
Doris Cummins volunteers in Refresh Gift Shop for two hours on Wednesday and Friday mornings, a volunteer position she’s enjoyed since the store opened. Over the past 20 years she also volunteered in the Share and Care Shop and at the original Welcome Center in the apartment suites lobby. During her time volunteering at Refresh she enjoys meeting people, helping stock the shelves, and seeing the new merchandise. She continues to volunteer because, as she says, “I’ve always been very active,” and “I like to be with people.”
Janet Ziemer, Ann Gross, Jean Bradley, Marge Ernst, Bud Grey, Carl Kuhn and Rich Masho were honored with a commemorative pin for volunteering for 15 years.
Helen Brackin, Ruth Buehler, Eleanor Sobczynski and Faye Strickler each received lifetime presidential awards for 4,000 and more hours of volunteer service.
A number of volunteers were honored for serving for 2000 hours as of 2016. Janie Hutton, Dorothy Ives, Nancy Jacobson, Alice Kuhn, Lee Lauffer, Jim Shuman and Bob Smith were honored.
Jane Stahr was honored for serving 5,000 hours as of 2015.
Fast says, “In Volunteer Services, we have the unique privilege of connecting daily with many of our dedicated volunteers. And we know that they share their gifts of time, skills and friendship selflessly, shining their light with all around them. At this special event, and throughout the year, we want to thank them for all they do to make Garden Spot Village such a wonderful place to live and work.”