SLH Volunteer Network: Meet Margaret Cook

Retired teacher, St. Austin parishioner and longtime Austin resident Margaret Cook began volunteering with Saint Louise House in late 2011, and since then, her involvement has steadily grown from baking birthday cakes to providing weekly childcare during moms’ life skills classes. Margaret’s known her dependability, can be counted on to volunteer “rain or shine,” and says she loves volunteering with young children. When asked what she has learned from her volunteer experience she shares, “I have learned a lot about the spirit of the women who have so much to deal with yet do not give up as they try to provide for their children. I have been amazed to learn of the power of a few good people setting out to fulfill a very important and urgent need in our community and being so successful in doing so. St Louis

e House and its founders being able to provide a home for 40 or so families is awe-inspiring.” Read more from our volunteer q&a with Margaret below!

How did you learn about Saint Louise House and what prompted you to get involved?
I first learned about St. Louise House through the parish bulletin at St. Austin’s Church. I noticed that there was a need for childcare and felt that would be a good fit for me given my teaching background. I enjoy working with young children.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
I enjoy working with the staff and especially with the children. I have learned so much from everyone involved in the program.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
I enjoy getting to know the children and feeling them become more comfortable interacting with me. When the smiles are forthcoming it is very rewarding. I also love seeing the mothers and children relax and enjoy a meal together.

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with Saint Louise House?
I have learned a lot about the spirit of the women who have so much to deal with yet do not give up as they try to provide for their children. I have been amazed to learn of the power of a few good people setting out to fulfill a very important and urgent need in our community and being so successful in doing so. St Louise House and its founders being able to provide a home for 40 or so families is awe inspiring.

What’s one of your favorite experiences as a volunteer?
On one occasion I was visiting with a young girl who’s mother had asked for help finding appropriate reading material to help improve reading skills. They were so appreciative of suggestions and the girl was warm and friendly showing some of the artwork she had done. It was beautiful and I was so impressed with her abilities. Her older sister was studying and preparing for school the next day. I just felt that this was a family with so much potential and I was happy they had St. Louise House to provide them the opportunity to succeed. During my childcare evenings I love watching the children become comfortable, relaxed and more willing to communicate with me. We have a lot of fun!

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering?
Come with an open heart and mind and you will be rewarded tenfold!

When you’re not volunteering what do you like to do?
I enjoy reading, walking, gardening.

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