Family Bonds Evolve Through Volunteering

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Volunteers who help those in need through The Center for Volunteer Caregiving quickly feel like family.

Last year, volunteers in Wake County drove more than 41,000 miles taking seniors and adults with disabilities to the doctor, grocery store and on other essential errands.

The bonds on those trips grow. Other volunteer opportunities include friendly visiting, caregiver respite and group projects.

Register today for one of the volunteer orientations below by getting starting on a volunteer application or by emailing volunteer@ctrvolcare.org.

Group Volunteer Orientations

  • Sept. 20 (Wed) from 12 – 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 2718 Overbrook Dr in Raleigh.
  • Oct. 10 (Tuesday) from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Center for Volunteer Caregiving, 1150 SE Maynard Rd, Suite 210 in Cary.

Family Bonds Grow Through Volunteering

One of those special relationships developed between Cary resident Jean Bucher and Nancy Nguyen, who volunteers through Friendly Visits, another of the Center’s free services. Shown in the picture above and are featured in the video at this link.

Jean is a survivor and doesn’t easily ask for help. She moved to Cary after Hurricane Katrina hit her home in New Orleans.

“We had to move quickly to the third floor of our apartment building, and I lost everything – my car, furniture, clothes,” said Jean, 85.

Long before the hurricane hit, Jean survived three hold-ups at the bakery where she worked.

“Twice robbers came in with guns and I gave them what was in the register,” Jean explained. “That last time with the knife really scared me.”

After moving to Cary more than 10 years ago, Jean became a survivor again. This time, she faced cancer. Bucher struggled at times to keep going through the surgery and treatments.

Today, she faces challenges of loneliness and not being able to get out much.

“My family isn’t able to visit very often, and my husband died before the hurricane,” Jean said.

Jean’s situation changed when she called the Center for Volunteer Caregiving in Cary and asked if someone could visit with her.

It was around that same time that Nancy contacted the Center.

“I didn’t know anyone here and wanted a way to give back to the community the way I had in Virginia,” said Nancy, 34, who lives in Durham.

The Center gave Nancy a way to help someone in need. Once Nancy completed the training, she was matched with Jean for a meeting that felt a little bit like a first date.

“I was nervous and hoped it would go well,” said Nancy. “It turned out to be a great experience because Ms. Jean is very loving, and I have learned so much from her positive attitude.”

When Nancy talks about her volunteer work, she reminisces about what it was like to have an adoptive grandmother, Elizabeth, who sponsored her parents when they moved from Vietnam to Virginia.

“My grandmother Elizabeth taught us so much and helped us with little things like going to the dentist and church,” Nancy said. “It didn’t seem like I could ever repay her for being so kind to our family, and helping Ms. Jean is a way of paying it forward.”

Jean’s face lights up and she laughs when she talks about Nancy.

“She’s like a granddaughter to me,” said Jean. “When I turned 85, Nancy brought me a cake with candles.”

It’s truly beautiful when volunteer matches like Nancy and Jean’s come together. You can’t tell who’s luckier: Jean, for having Nancy’s friendly visits or Nancy, for having Jean love her like a granddaughter.

Blog published in The Cary News on November 27, 2016

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