Volunteer Spotlight – Patti

Elaine Whitford Give_Receive_Care

Patti began volunteering with The Center for Volunteer Caregiving in 2018. When Patti retired, she wanted to give back to members of her community. What began as a quick internet search for local volunteer opportunities quickly turned into a rewarding experience. During her search for volunteer opportunities, Patti was struck by The Center’s historical legacy and its goal of helping care receivers remain independent in their own homes.   

Patti’s first volunteer assignments were in The Center’s transportation program. Patti confessed that she was nervous about beginning as a volunteer. She told herself that she would “do it for a year” to try it out because she was “a bit hesitant about making conversation with care receivers”. After providing six to seven rides, Patti was hooked. “Every time I left a ride, I would just get in my car and cry because the care receivers are so sweet and appreciate,” explained Patti.  

When COVID began, Patti did not feel as comfortable volunteering in the transportation program. She reached out to The Center’s staff and was connected with two care receivers in the In-Home Connections program. Patti noticed that one of her regular transportation care receivers could no longer manage to go into the grocery store herself, so Patti began shopping for her.  

Through providing over 900 hours of volunteer service, Patti has learned about the fascinating lives of many care receivers. “I just love their stories. . . . I have met the most interesting people,” said Patti. She has learned about new cultures, recipes, vacuum improvement, and how to use a motorized scooter. As Patti has connected with numerous care receivers, she has also shared her love of baking. When Patti learns of a care receiver’s favorite cake, she will write it down in her phone and bake it for their next birthday. When Patti paused volunteering due to surgery, her regular care receiver hoped for a fill-in shopping volunteer that was “just as nice as Patti”.  

In addition to volunteering with The Center for Volunteer Caregiving, Patti is an avid golfer in a local women’s league. When asked how she manages her time between volunteering and other commitments, Patti recommends that volunteers utilize the ride calendar to find rides that are close to them. “I always pick up the rides near Wake Forest, but I know that I am willing to go to Cary,” explained Patti. She also encourages volunteers to always allow for extra time when providing rides. 

What began as only a yearlong commitment has turned into a fulfilling long-term experience for Patti. “I was a little timid when I started, but found it was so easy to connect.” Patti greatly enjoys her time with her care receivers. “This is so much fun!”