Volunteer Spotlight – Shelia

Elaine Whitford Give_Receive_Care

Shelia learned about The Center when she saw that someone she worked with was involved as a volunteer. She’d never heard of The Center so she looked it up online. Four years later when the time was right, she was ready to become a volunteer. Shelia has volunteered with The Center since October 2021.

Shelia has been a loyal volunteer for several of the ladies in our In-Home Connections program. She feels a calling to help older adults, saying “Older people need someone. They are alone. At that age, you deserve someone to look after you.” She has noticed that depression is prevalent among older adults, and many of the care receivers who Shelia has volunteered with have mentioned feeling depressed. Unfortunately, they often don’t realize they are depressed or they feel there is a stigma attached to it, so they don’t get help. Shelia watches for the signs of depression in her ladies and is always upbeat and encouraging with them.

Death is a common part of the population The Center serves, and Shelia has had to say farewell to a couple of her ladies. But she is quick to remember the interesting stories they shared. One of the most interesting stories was told to her by Wendy, whose father had worked for the government. When Wendy was a girl, her father had brought home a steel suitcase with moon rocks in it.  Her father opened the suitcase so she could see the moon rocks. When Shelia asked Wendy if she had kept a moon rock, Wendy told her she did not but admitted that there might be a little moon dust in her home.

Shelia is fascinated with all things vintage, so another of her care receivers, Myrna, enjoys telling her about her days of wearing crinoline under her skirts. Shelia said that Myrna is the same age as Shelia’s mom, who passed away 10 years ago. Talking to Myrna reminds her of talking to her mother. But there’s one big difference in talking to Myrna. Myrna is quick to tell Shelia a dirty joke, but she “cleans them up” for Shelia.

Myrna told us that she thinks Shelia is a “gift from God.” She said, “Shelia is always positive. I just think she’s the most wonderful person I’ve known. Everything she does for you, she does it like she wants to, not like she has to. It’s to make someone else’s life better.”

Shelia has helped The Center’s care receivers in more ways than volunteering. She loved the idea of the holiday gift bag project and bringing joy during the holidays, so she promoted it at her office. Not only did she collect items and cash to support the project, but she recruited a new volunteer!

Shelia has worked in the corporate real estate department as SAS for 21 years. She is very involved with her church, Holland’s United Methodist Church. And she enjoys walking in downtown Cary. She revealed that she’s lost a lot of weight since she has volunteered with The Center. She saw from her care receivers how important staying active is to maintaining good health, and it motivated her to get active.