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Saying Farewell to Volunteer Director Lois Hutchison

On Friday, July 14 we said a fond farewell to long-time Director of Volunteers, Lois Hutchison. Lois started working at Messiah Village in 1989 and worked in several areas until she took leadership of the volunteer office in 2002. Since that time, we’ve recorded an amazing 415,160 volunteer hours that are valued at nearly $9 million! Hundreds of volunteers and residents attended her retirement celebration in the Chapel. President Curt Stutzman and Vice President of Gift Development Sharon Engle both made special presentations.

Lois has poured her heart and soul into volunteers, residents, guests, and fellow colleagues over these past decades and her smile will be missed. Lois plans to enjoy resting, reading, visiting family, and traveling with her husband.

As we wish Lois Godspeed, we remember that volunteers are always needed and most welcome. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please call the Volunteer office at 717.697.4666, extension 5411.

Celebrating Volunteerism

April 23-29, 2017 is National Healthcare Volunteer Week. President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974 as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. Every sitting U.S. president since Nixon has issued a proclamation during National Volunteer Week (as have many U.S. mayors and governors). Since then, the original emphasis on celebration has widened; the week has become a nationwide effort to urge people to get out and volunteer in their communities. Every April, charities, hospitals, and communities recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service. Source: www.ahvrp.org.

The Power of Volunteerism

IMG_0894Volunteering is such a pure and selfless act, and all generations can benefit from it. For older adults especially, volunteerism provides purpose and meaning and is a great form of enrichment and social engagement. Its value is two-fold: while helping others, you can simultaneously improve your own physical, mental, and social well-being. Multiple studies reveal that retirement-age individuals who volunteer find it easier to stave off depression, isolation and boredom. Plus, time and time again you hear volunteers say, “I thought I was doing something helpful for someone else, but I feel just as rewarded by helping others.”

For Messiah Lifeways, volunteerism is a quintessential part of our mission and heritage. There are nearly 460 active volunteers ranging from ages 13 to 98! The average age of our volunteers is 73 years young, which emphasizes the significance and value of volunteering no matter what your age.

Lois Hutchison, Director of Volunteers at Messiah Lifeways, states, “Older volunteers in particular want to give back by helping others. They have a great appreciation for volunteerism and enjoy staying actively engaged by making a difference in the lives of others.” She also added that “many family members come back to the Village to volunteer, even though their loved one has passed away. They feel a connection and want to give back to the place that meant so much to their parent or spouse.”

Many volunteers live at Messiah Village and are eager to help in any way. Aside from traditional duties like passing water pitchers, volunteers at Messiah Village can do out-of-the-ordinary tasks, such as driving the campus shuttle or helping to run the gift shops or coffee shops. Others help by showcasing their talents playing a musical instrument or by bringing their furry friends in for pet therapy.

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Each year we celebrate and count our blessings for the enormous volunteer effort put forth by so many. To celebrate this year, volunteers have been showered with love and appreciation with different treats like the “mint” giveaways (pictured above) along with a week-long Volunteer Appreciation Open House where each volunteer gets one-on-one time to connect with the Volunteer Department.

The Economic Value of Volunteerism

In a recent 2016 study from IndependentSector.org the national value of volunteer time was calculated at $24.14 per hour. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans gave 8 billion hours of volunteer service worth $193 billion. For the latest information, please see VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.

To find out more about volunteer opportunities and how you can make a difference at Messiah Lifeways, call Lois Hutchison at 717.790.8203 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/Volunteers.

Volunteering at a Senior Center with Pets

The Power of Volunteerism

Volunteering is such a pure and selfless act, and all generations can benefit from it. For older adults especially, volunteerism is a great form of enrichment and social engagement. Its value is two-fold: while helping others you can simultaneously improve your own physical, mental, and social well-being. Multiple studies reveal that retirement-age individuals who volunteer find it easier to stave off depression, isolation and boredom. Plus, time and time again you hear volunteers say, “I thought I was doing something helpful for someone else, but I feel just as rewarded by helping others.”

For Messiah Lifeways, volunteerism is a quintessential part of our mission and foundation. There are nearly 450 active volunteers ranging from 13 to 97 years old. And the average age of volunteers is 74 years young, which emphasizes the significance and value of volunteering no matter what your age.

Lois Hutchison, Director of Volunteers at Messiah Lifeways, states, “Older volunteers in particular want to give back by helping others.” They have a great appreciation for volunteerism and enjoy staying actively engaged by making a difference in the lives of others.” She also added that “many family members come back to the Village to volunteer, even though their loved one has passed away. They feel a connection and want to give back to the place that meant so much to their parent or spouse.”

Many volunteers live at Messiah Village and are eager to help in any way. Aside from traditional duties like passing water pitchers, volunteers at Messiah Village can do out of the ordinary tasks, such as driving the on campus shuttle or helping run the gift or coffee shops. Others help by showcasing their talents playing a musical instrument or by bringing their furry friends in for pet therapy.

In the most recent edition of the Messiah Lifeways Preview Guide, Messiah Lifeways volunteer Kathy Eshbach, along with her dog Bentley, was asked what volunteering meant to her.

“Volunteering at Messiah Lifeways strengthens my perspective on what’s truly valuable in life, and I’m grateful for the opportunities to learn from the residents we meet. I enjoy being part of a profound mission that needs and speaks the love of Christ.

Visiting each neighborhood allows us to build friendships and strike up conversations about our similar love for dogs; it’s quite common for residents to reminisce about their pets. While chatting with the residents, the generational differences disappear, and commonalities are discovered. Bentley’s lovable and curious demeanor quickly spawns smiles and loving pats from his acquaintances. It’s rewarding to watch Bentley’s unique way of eliciting positive distractions as he greets and seeks attention. I always leave enriched by the joy I receive through volunteering with Bentley.”

To find out more about volunteer opportunities and how you can make a difference at Messiah Lifeways, call Lois Hutchison at 717.790.8203.

Actively Engaged and Making a Difference

Awake bright and early, Ferne Niesley, takes a two-mile walk just about every morning she can. After what we can only assume is a breakfast of champions, Ferne heads over to the Village Center to either volunteer or work several hours for Messiah Lifeways At Home. And she does this with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. By the way, did I mention she will be 90 years old in May and has also lived at Messiah Village for the last 18 years?! You might call this amazing; Ferne just calls it an average day.

Ferne has worked part-time for Messiah Lifeways At Home for the last 10 years primarily as a one-on-one companion. She provides residents and clients company and social engagement to brighten their days and keeps on eye on them if they are struggling with health and mobility issues. Additionally, as a volunteer, she works in the gift shop as well as delivers flowers to residents in the Village Center. She also fills and delivers water pitchers to residents in nursing, sings in the church choir and helps out at fall festival, clothing sales, and various church committees.

In a recent interview by Coaching Intern, Lindsay Mumma, when asked what keeps her going, Ferne replied, “I have this drive and the drive comes from the Lord.” She also stated, “I don’t think about anything, I just do it.” “If you think about it too much, it’ll never get done.” She also believes she was born to work. That strong work ethic continues to live on at nearly 90 years young. She also said that when she watches television, she feels like she’s wasting time. She’s simply too busy for that, staying actively engaged and making a difference in the lives of others.


(continued from Messiah Lifeways Magazine Summer 2013 Issue- page 4)

Much ahead of the curve, Ferne represents a burgeoning and gainful movement often referred to as either an encore career or second act. This movement is associated a bit more with baby boomers, but certainly includes trailblazers in their 70s, 80s and 90s. In the book, Prime Time, author Marc Freedman states, that rather than a “retirement of leisure” that might separate [older adults] from the world, [seniors, retirees, baby boomers] want to be actively engaged and making a difference. Freedman refers to it as “re-engagement of activity” to replace the “retirement of leisure.” This wave is re-imagining retirement and is focused on writing a new chapter in their lives. Volunteering, mentoring, and working part-time for enjoyment and engagement are extremely satisfying and beneficial. And in doing so at 90, Ferne continues to nourish her mind, body, and soul. Active engagement and making a difference in the lives of others sure seems to be working for her.

Another prime example is my father-in-law, who at 80 years old still works full-time as a government relations consultant. Zipping all around the State Capitol and downtown Harrisburg, everyone knows Ron Lench. He also exercises several times a week and does a stretching routine every single morning. Ron is also dedicated to Beth El Temple, organizing and attending a daily prayer group that meets 6 days a week. He also is extremely devoted to his 5 grandchildren, constantly attending their basketball, baseball, and soccer games, plays and recitals as well as babysitting. He also does quite of bit of traveling for work and pleasure. Again I think it’s amazing, yet like Ferne, he modestly brushes it off as part of his normal routine.

I have learned a very a valuable lesson from people like Ferne and my father-in-law. For many years I have relished the idea of retiring, not because I didn’t like working, but rather not having to deal with the daily grind: getting up early, commuting, deadlines, meetings, the list goes on. I couldn’t wait till retirement so I could hop into my hammock at the beach and do absolutely nothing. I know better now. While relaxing and “doing nothing” in small doses might be ok, I have made a promise to myself. I will remain actively engaged and make a difference in the lives of others upon my retirement with opportunities like working part-time, volunteering, mentoring, and exercising my mind and body. I hope you do the same.