Every year, Parker Home® celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week in great style, by inviting their volunteers to the recognition reception. The annual dinner is a tribute to the 200 volunteers who generously gave 7900 hours of service during 2013 to the residents at the assisted living and skilled nursing home and participants at the Adult Day Center.
The dinner was planned and hosted by Catherine Martino, Parker’s senior manager of volunteer services. The theme of the evening was “Parker Volunteers - You are the Icing on our Cupcake.” During her opening remarks, Martino used the analogy that Parker Home is like a plain cupcake. “Cupcakes without icing are good, but cupcakes with icing are much sweeter, richer, and more complete,” Catherine said. The “icing” consists of the volunteers who enrich and enhance the quality of life of our residents and participants. Volunteers help in a variety of ways: some organize games and activities, conduct religious services, assist with events, write articles for the blog and media, perform administrative duties, and more.
Parker volunteers come to us for a variety of reasons – but the main reason is a strong desire to help others. We have a large number of high school and college students, who come as individuals or from sororities, fraternities or clubs. Parker is very lucky to have such enthusiastic and good hearted students. Our adult volunteers have left their impact on residents and staff alike. Parker relies on them to supplement some of the needs of our residents and staff and we’ve discovered that their extraordinary service enhances our own – like icing on a cupcake!
Pearl and Marty Teller became Parker volunteers because they noticed the quality of Parker staff members. “The staff stops whatever they’re doing to interact with residents and guests,” Pearl noted. Pearl is a clerical volunteer and Marty helps out with outings and events such as the Rutgers OLLI Film and Lecture Series.
Francine Lemoine is not just a volunteer from the Assembly of God Church. She is also a retired nurse who worked at Parker for 27 years. Francine runs a monthly religious service for our River Road residence and previously led a weekly religious service in Parker’s Landing Lane residence.
A special acknowledgement was made to Theresa Byrne from Transfiguration of the Lord Church who has recently retired from volunteering after leading a weekly rosary services for the last 20 years.
Although Rosemarie and Mark Strawn work full-time, they visit Parker monthly to facilitate a book club for the residents. They have found time for us in their busy schedule for the last 17 years!
Chip Ross, Parker Home’s chief talent officer, joined Catherine Martino at the podium to give out certificates and gifts of gourmet iced cupcakes, a connection to the theme of the celebration. Our volunteers include:
- Community Volunteers such as AARP, Kiwanis and Silver Knights a group of retired Rutgers University employees, these groups help out with admission packets, the Parker Country Store, filing, one- one visits, host monthly birthday parties for our residents assist with trips, events and clerical work
- Retired Parker employee Joan Miller frequently visits Parker with her dogs to the delight of our residents along with 7 other pet therapy volunteers who share their beloved pets with us.
- Many groups share their faith with our residents, including Maranatha Church, Community Baptists, Middlebush Reform, Calvary Baptist Church, Grace Alliance, St. Peters, and Transfiguration of the Lord. Mike Miller leads weekly Shabbat services and Marlene Herman leads a monthly Israeli Information seminar and luncheon.
- Parker also has many individual volunteers and intergenerational volunteers, many of whom are Rutgers students.
The presentation ended with a video starring Parker Home’s Adult Day Center social club singing an original blues song, “We’d Like to Say Thank You to All the Volunteers.” The song said it all - thank you to our volunteers who help make Parker Home a wonderful place to work, visit, and reside.