The heroes of winter break

College students make up a significant portion of our volunteer base. We love their energy, and their schedules usually match up well with the times that clients need help the most. However, during the holidays and other school breaks when students leave town en masse, we typically have to turn down requests from clients because we don’t have enough volunteers available. This year, our volunteer base has grown, and we have several locally-based volunteers who unfailingly donate their time, no matter the season. Their dependability is getting A Helping Hand clients through the holidays!

Karen has been volunteering for several months now. She has one client that she sees on a weekly basis, and then picks up other assignments as they come up, usually volunteering at least twice a week. In the month of December alone, she’s taken 8 assignments. Her dependable service has ensured that many AHH clients can still get to their doctor’s appointments this month.

David is a professor in Virginia who comes to North Carolina during school breaks. By choosing to spend his vacation time volunteering, he helps fill the gap when our student volunteers are out of town. He’s only started volunteering recently, but we already know he’ll be an asset to AHH!

Kumi takes time out of work each week to help Ms. B. Before Kumi came along, Ms. B’s volunteers were mostly students. With the breaks between internship sessions and school holidays, there were 19 weeks out of the year that Ms. B wouldn’t have a companion. Now, Kumi comes each week without fail. Her companion’s visit is the only time Ms. B can leave the house during the week, so Kumi’s consistency has been truly valuable.

Marti has assisted Ms. E every other week for more than three years. One of the biggest complaints we get from our clients is that they get a new intern every semester, and it takes time to get into a routine with a new companion. Marti’s commitment to Ms. E for three years has provided exceptional continuity of care, and allowed them to form deep relationship.

These volunteers have been a saving grace for AHH this holiday season. In the past several years, we’ve only been able to serve 20 or 25 clients for a total of only about 100 hours in the month of December. With the help of these volunteers, this December we’ll be serving 65 clients, and providing 675 volunteer hours!