What do an interior designer, a Girl Scout troop, a car mechanic and a college organization have in common? Like thousands of others, all have volunteered over the years to make a difference in the lives of Saint Louise House mothers and children.
Saint Louise House salutes its volunteers as part of our ongoing 20th anniversary observance and as part of National Volunteer Week on April 18-24.
We can’t function without our volunteers – whether one-time or long-time, they enrich the lives of Saint Louise House families in addition to helping us operate efficiently, doing more with less. While the pandemic has curtailed some volunteer opportunities on site, both individuals and groups have found a way to contribute their time and energy.
Katy Bohuslav answered an appeal in a local church bulletin 17 years ago for the donation of a vacuum and small television. Since then, she and her family – husband Thomas and sons Will, 22, and Jack, 18– have volunteered in a number of roles, and she now also serves on the Saint Louise House Board of Directors.
“Being a Saint Louise House volunteer family for as long as we have has made Saint Louise House an extension of our own family,” Bohuslav says. “We consider Saint Louise House in our calendar, our budget, our future. When an event happens in our community, a change in the economy, a storm or natural disaster, and now COVID-19, we share concern for Saint Louise House families as we do our own.”
A chance meeting and conversation with the late Catholic Bishop John McCarthy – one of Saint Louise House’s biggest supporters – inspired Carolyn Jorden to start volunteering on a monthly basis. She has shopped for family needs, sponsored families at the holidays, filled back-to-school backpacks and helped out with other needs that have arisen, such as providing personal item boxes during the pandemic.
Jorden also takes part in one of our most cherished traditions that was actually started long ago by a volunteer – providing a birthday cake for each mother and child. More than 100 every year!
“The mothers who are working with such conviction to make a better life for their children and themselves are truly an inspiration to me,” Jorden says. “It is my privilege to volunteer and support these women in their journey to self-sufficiency; what a wonderful example they are setting for their children! Knowing that dropping off a birthday cake or a backpack filled with school supplies may help them in some small way fills my heart with joy.”
Sometimes group volunteer events spark participants to become personally involved.
Chrissy Ranft, vice president of project management at Amplify Credit Union, was introduced to Saint Louise House through a company volunteer project. She felt called to do more.
“When working with them on how to get started with volunteering, they made it easy and flexible to what I felt I could do,” she says. “It’s what I can do and when I can do it, and they are grateful for anything contributed. What I do is very simple, and feels pretty insignificant to me, but it’s always greatly appreciated by Saint Louise House.”
We always welcome new volunteers and hope we’ll soon be able to expand opportunities as the pandemic eases. There’s a role for everyone, regardless of age, time availability or skill.